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Friday, November 27, 2015


Eight Young Nigerian Poets Whose Poems Delight

There are certain everyday things that make you despair of Nigeria (like the incorrigible craze for acquisitiveness by the ruling political oligarchs), but then there are also certain things that make your heart race around your chest with joy. Yes, my heart often dances a makossa every time I read about literary activities in Nigeria; it shows that at least there is some green growth regardless of all the muck and rot of politics eroding the land.

I have been watching some contemporary younger Nigerian poets closely and reading their poems with a combined sense of wonder and delight. Now, well, these are not the very familiar big names you often run into in print and online. These poets are many and all home-based generally. A few have stood out from this throng, though. Quite distinctively.

And I strongly think these poets are destined to inspire and astound, that is, if they remain committed to this arduous craft they have embraced. To me, they are the Eight Young Nigerian Poets Whose Poems delight.


Dami Ajayi is a final year medical student. His first collection of poems, Clinical Blues, is scheduled to be published in 2012. His poems have appeared in Saraba Magazine, Sentinel Nigeria, IFEMED journal, Mapletree Literary Supplement and elsewhere.


All fools make pictures
But pictures are no memories,
They remain darkroom scams;
My mind surpasses every camera.

I’ve tried to touch good times twice
But they elude me, like swinging
Pendulums, cherry mangoes, physics.

So what are my options: Fantasies?
Grandiose ideations? playback video reality?
Or plain youthful CPR?

My thoughts wash in old houses
Fresh with coats of dust.
Torn settees and a creaking dining table
Offering gecko shit as breakfast.

Quick glances challenge cerebral bytes.
Where is the Grandfather clock
With a stainless scrotum, the clattering
Icicles of our curtains, the smell of boiling beans
On sawdust stove, the broken manual rewinder,
The June 12 season?

Emmanuel Samson (E. S. Abdalmasih) is an unpublished poet, who started trying out his hand at writing poetry in late 2007 but became frustrated and quit early 2009, then resumed mid 2010 (while he was recuperating -- for 14 months -- from a compound fracture he had sustained on his left leg's tibia, after he came out of a ghastly automobile accident on March 21, 2010) and since then became serious with it.

That Part of You

That part of you,
That lives inside me,
I know the texture of it—
It sings for me—
It smells of jasmine;
My soul hankers for it.

I know the shape of it—
The “O” of lips teeming with kiss,
A full moon, whose light
Dissolves the walls of darkness
That separates you from me,
Guiding me you-ward.

Itunu Akande, a graduate student from electronics and electrical engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has some of his works published in Saraba magazine, Ife Festival of Poetry and Avant-garde Poetry anthologies. He is currently working on a one-act play and a collection of poetry.

Bridge Blues 7 (An Eastern Rising)

Now the day is oval
And where there are minions' flames
Shadows hiss by aging bricks.
I hear Godward cries
Lost to staggering starlight
Through a sheet of incensed clouds
Some other gods in an armored square
Shivering behind cold bars.
The night draws nigh and grey
Blackening handful notes of maiden joys
All things and their seasons shrivel into dust
But in death a palsied hope.
In surrender, no conquest lies
Only light that strays and fades and never returns.
All glories be vain
Awake, awake still
Shadows of the evening mists
If to emptiness of peace
And vanities of conceived beauties.
Awake, awake still
These burning lamps are nothing like the sun.
Bless the sun
Let its tinsel wings come bear you home
Renewing times by a cleansing tide
Stilled across the dusty night.

Richard Ali is a lawyer and editor of the Sentinel Nigeria Magazine. He is presently working on his debut novel, City of Memories and a debut collection of poems. His work has been published in the African Writing Journal {vol. 4 & 8} and in the Prosopisia Journal.

Remedios: A Marquezade

There you are at the corner of my eyes
In the swirl of a crowd, haunting the briefness
Of my glance – you the memory of Samarian thirsts
Siren shape, your hair garlanded with poppies

Stretch of lines seeking a spell to capture in time
A private nostalgia; the sun of me who espies
A dream lily, white amidst the colorful; the sun of me
Who knows you’ll be gone by dawn’s keeping

Remedios! We have danced on the sides of rolling dice
And though my ray liberates a second of symmetry
The larger tune riffles us to earth’s ends – I go also
But it isn’t my departure I mourn.

Emmanuel Iduma holds a degree in Law and is the Managing Editor and Co-Publisher of Saraba, where his poems have appeared, as well as in ITCH and New Black Magazine. He has recently completed a novel, Farad, and would begin work on another in August.

The Lives of a Signpost

I was there when affinity caught up with magic
and the single coffee grew into our hearts;
Justice is the cruelest word
framing life into disjointed parameters
for men like us, and our love
that cannot be defined.

Let us stay, you and I
in the place where alcohol is the music
of teetotalers and juvenilia the cure
for aging, this life that is upon us.

There would be time for affliction,
the satirical fogs of memory, artlessness,
void, limbo.

And there would be time for open cities,
Colian tales of movement;
upon us are the changes of perception,
in the room where the critics come and go
talking of rewritten Ulysses and brainy books
and Africa and complaints.

And indeed there would be time
for affection, short nights,
women speaking of whiz-kids
bad teas, empty milk tins, culinary skills
and fraternity.

In the room where the critics come and go
speaking of Ulysses.

Do we dare disturb the watery presence
of Idoto, bad poets, copycats?
Yes, of course
(They will say: “see how far they’re going,
their convoluted selves and picture books”)

Do we dare disturb the watery universe with our presence?
Yes of course.

You know, we should listen to Giant Steps;
There are words we cannot speak,
and perfection that we ought to take away;
We have once been to the witch of Endor,
You remember?

This is time to murder and create
this bitch of a life, this botched creativity
and Eliot, and a million castaways
whose interest time shall reverse;
Nonetheless, time for me and time for you
we go to the evening of our lives
there is a window-pane waiting.

Do we dare?
Yes, of course.

We are 25 and younger;
This time the road turns and we are signposts.

In the room where the critics come and go
speaking of Ulysses

Gimba Kakanda is the author of the poetry collection, Safari Pants and is currently polishing his debut novel, Night Book. His poems have appeared in various print and electronic media, including the Indian journal, Prosopisia: An International Journal of Poetry and Creativity (Vol. III No. 1, 2010).

Dream Chase

So many cowries
Thrown onto wandering tides
To slower the sinking grins of contentment…

So many sojourns
Hurriedly drained in darkness
To machete the ropes of ancestry…

So many neighbours’ poultry
Stolen to dress the gods
That our dreams flow no coarse course…

So many cows
Lamed in our selfish morrow-darting
To halt the mooing of our barrenness…

So many seeds sown
In pyramid-heaps of a virgin life
To satiate our emptied silos…

…vamoose in a flicker of sun-lid
At the yawning wake of germination

We cry blood
For the ripe wind in tomorrow
Tomorrow that never comes
When our cries ambush the draped moat
Our beaten contingency gets bandaged by salads

There’s tomorrow

And when the tomorrow never comes
They toast
In a parliamentary breath

There’s another tomorrow after tomorrow

So much so many times
Our dreams slump
In the arm-pit of mirage

Yemi Soneye was a winner in the 2010 StoryTime One Sentence Short Story Competition and is working on his first poetry book, Guarded Drifts. His works have appeared in Sentinel Nigeria, The New Black Magazine, Istanbul Literary Review, Saraba Magazine, Palapala Magazine, etc.

The Old Beverage Truck

Though her engine and body
had been worn by the long walks
between here and the big town,
the old Beverage Truck still comes

Crying and heaving louder than
any music of maternity down
the hill, with the crated tidings
to our shop that serves the world

In searching for where to pause
for a nap, she gusts out black bits
that leave straight for our insides;
enwrapping our aches and blowing
out in refreshing coughs and sneezes

Violence of the ignition and jerks
of our arms wake her gently and she leaves
but before she mixes with the distance, our
purse would have started jingling as shop
increases with contented throats!

Senator Iyere Ihenyen is the author of Colourless Rainbow. He participated in the British Council Crossing Borders Workshop in 2006 and was featured by Literatur ad Art, Barcelona, as a voice to watch. He is currently working on his second volume of poetry centred on HIV/AIDS.

A Poem Written by God

I long to write a poem on the walls of your heart, that whenever your heart beats,
you will feel the throbs of my love,
steaming beyond the flames of February fourteen.

But whenever my eyes fall on yours,
Your eyes gleaming on my mobile wallpaper,
Heightened hills of ignited imaginations break into dust, waterfalls of brimming emotions lean to a slithering drop,

Because what I see before me
Is a work of poetry,
of art, of nature, of perfection, of immortality -
my muse is too bemused to mould your being
with the clay of human hands, the mortality of human desires, of human

The word of God has become flesh in you,
Would you dwell inside my heart so true,
For I now long to write on your lips with a kiss,
You're a poem written by God in bliss.


Inspiration can come from anywhere, but one of my favorite sources is inspirational quotes. There are several that have helped me stay on track throughout my business adventures, and I hope the following sayings from some of the most successful people in history will have the same effect on you:
1. "Success is most often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable." -- Coco Chanel
2. "Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out."
- John Wooden
3. "Courage is grace under pressure." -- Ernest Hemingway
4. "If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary."
- Jim Rohn
5. "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." -- Albert Einstein
6. "Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life -- think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success." -- Swami Vivekananda
7. "Sometimes you can't see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others." -- Ellen DeGeneres
8. "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."
- Walt Disney
9. "It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop."
- Confucius
10. "Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill
11. "Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." -- Warren Buffett
12. "Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them." -- Vaibhav Shah
13. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." -- Dr. Seuss
14. "Success? I don't know what that word means. I'm happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody's eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That's a good day for me." -- Denzel Washington
15. "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." -- Mae West
16. "Opportunities don't happen. You create them." -- Chris Grosser
17. "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." -- Christopher Reeve
18. "Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value." -- Albert Einstein
19. "There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires." -- Nelson Mandela
20. "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." -- Charles Darwin
21. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart." -- Helen Keller
22. "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
23. "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." -- Mahatma Gandhi
24. "The best revenge is massive success." -- Frank Sinatra
25. "The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting."
- Walt Disney
26. "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -- Thomas Edison
27. "When you cease to dream you cease to live." -- Malcolm Forbes
28. "A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." -- David Brinkley
29. "May you live every day of your life." -- Jonathan Swift
30. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
31. "Failure is another steppingstone to greatness." -- Oprah Winfrey
32. "The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one's destiny to do, and then do it." -- Henry Ford
33. "If you're not stubborn, you'll give up on experiments too soon. And if you're not flexible, you'll pound your head against the wall and you won't see a different solution to a problem you're trying to solve." -- Jeff Bezos
34. "If you're going through hell, keep going." -- Winston Churchill
35. "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." -- Coco Chanel
36. "What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise." -- Oscar Wilde
37. "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." -- Wayne Gretzky
38. "The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success."
- Bruce Feirstein
39. "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
- Dolly Parton
40. "To me, business isn't about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It's about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials."--Richard Branson
41. "The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes." -- Frank Lloyd Wright
42. "Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." -- Nathaniel Hawthorne
43. "You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them."
- Michael Jordan
44. "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
- Albert Einstein
45. "You can't please everyone, and you can't make everyone like you." -- Katie Couric
46. "There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed."
-Ray Goforth
47. "I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine."-Neil Armstrong
48. "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." -- Arthur Ashe
49. "Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve."-Mary Kay Ash
50. "People ask, 'What's the best role you've ever played?' The next one."
- Kevin Kline
51. "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." -- Mark Twain
52. "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson
53. "It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong."
- Abraham Lincoln
54. "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out."
- Robert Collier
55. "As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others." -- Audrey Hepburn
56. "If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work." -- Thomas J. Watson
57. "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." -- John Quincy Adams
58. "All progress takes place outside the comfort zone." -- Michael John Bobak
59. "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." -- Oprah Winfrey
60. "You may only succeed if you desire succeeding; you may only fail if you do not mind failing." -- Philippos
61. "A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work."-Colin Powell
62. "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."
-Pablo Picasso
63. "The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks." -- Mark Zuckerberg
64. "We become what we think about most of the time, and that's the strangest secret." -- Earl Nightingale
65. "Do one thing every day that scares you." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
66. "The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
- Vidal Sassoon
67. "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." -- John D. Rockefeller
68. "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."--Steve Jobs
69. "Don't worry about failure; you only have to be right once." -- Drew Houston
70. "Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending." -- Carl Bard
71. "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
72. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain
73. "Keep your face to the sunshine and you can never see the shadow."
- Helen Keller
74. "The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself." -- Mark Caine
75. "One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody." -- Mother Teresa
76. "Identity is a prison you can never escape, but the way to redeem your past is not to run from it, but to try to understand it, and use it as a foundation to grow." -- Jay-Z
77. "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." -- Bruce Lee
78. "Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy." -- Jimmy Spithill
79. "If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased."
- Katharine Hepburn
80. "Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down." -- Charles F. Kettering
81. "I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward."
- Charlotte Bronte
82. "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
- Steve Jobs
83. "Life is short, and it is here to be lived." -- Kate Winslet
84. "Everything you can imagine is real." -- Pablo Picasso
85. "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
- Barack Obama
86. "If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!" -- T. Harv Eker
87. "Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better." -- Jim Rohn
88. "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot
89. "If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it's within your reach. And it'll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build." -- Steve Wozniak
90. "In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is desire. No reasons or principle contain it or stand against it." -- Jane Smiley
91. "In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."
- Deepak Chopra
92. "Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time." -- George Bernard Shaw
93. "I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." -- Diane Ackerman
94. "As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others." -- Bill Gates
95. "Our greatest fear should not be of failure... but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." -- Francis Chan
96. "Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." -- Oscar Wilde
97. "If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." -- Jim Rohn
98. "But you have to do what you dream of doing even while you're afraid."
- Arianna Huffington
99. "To be successful, you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can't just accept the ones you like." -- Mike Gafka
100. "Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it's holy ground. There's no greater investment." -- Stephen Covey
101. "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." -- Thomas A. Edison
As Zig Ziglar said, motivation doesn't last. But neither does showering. That's why both are recommended daily. Whenever you're struggling to get things done, turn to these quotes for the inspiration and motivation you need to be the best you can be.
Have another quote that you feel should be added to this list? Share it by leaving a comment below!


By: Connie M Giordano
"I find nothing in the Bible but holiness, and nothing in the world but worldliness. Therefore, if I live in the world, I will become worldly; on the other hand, if I live in the Bible, I will become holy." - Smith Wigglesworth
The Apostle Peter admonished the Body of Christ in 1 Peter 1:14-16 in this manner - "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, BE YE HOLY; FOR I AM HOLY."
Is it possible nowadays for people, in the midst of this "adulterous and sinful generation," to actually "be...holy" in their behavior, ways, or manner of life?
What about all the teachings in the Church at this present hour that say that we cannot help but sin in thought, word, or deed? Surely, these "Teachers" and "Preachers" don't agree with Peter's inspired words here. They actually do not believe that it is possible for anyone to live "holy." After all, they openly and boldly emphasize that we are still "sinners" saved by grace.
We may have been "sinners" at one time, but does the Bible still called the "Redeemed of the Lord" "sinners"? Or does it now refer to us as "saints" - sanctified ones - "vessels of honor for God" - holy, separate, and set apart from this world for God's use?
Would God be so oppressive and ironhanded as to command us to be "holy" and not give us the means to be so?
What Father would bid his children to do a task that is beyond their capability without giving them the tools in order to get the job done?
Matthew 7:11 - If we, "being evil, know how to give good gifts unto our children, how much more shall our Father in Heaven give us the means to obey His command to "be holy"?
In Psalm 119:9, the Psalmist asked a very relevant question - one that many are asking even in our day and time - "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?"
In other words, where can I go to get help in leading a pure and holy life? Where can I find the power to resist temptation or to put to death the affections and lusts of my flesh?
The Word of God has the answer. In fact, the Word of God is the answer.
In this message, we will examine 18 Steps To Holiness. They are in no way exhaustive, but they will surely help to set and keep you on the right track.
They are as follows:
1. Make The Word Of God Your Rule
Psalm 119:9 - "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word."
The #1 way to holiness is to make God's Word your rule for your life and conduct, govern yourself accordingly, and resolve to conform to it in every measure.
2. Seek God With Your Whole Heart
Psalm 119:10 - "With my whole heart have I sought Thee..."
With every affection of your heart - reserving none for any possible idols - follow hard after God. Continuously cry out to Him for more wisdom, strength, and a tender spirit.
3. Realize Your Weaknesses
Psalm 119:10 - "...O let me not wander from Thy commandments." Psalm 119:25 - "My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken Thou me according to Thy word."
In order to stay in the path of duty, you have to realize your constant need for self-denial and restraint. You are prone to wander and err except for the Lord's intervention.
Your life is generally glued to or adheres firmly to that which is of this world - "dust." Earthly things and desires are unfailingly contesting to pull you away from your allegiance to Jesus.
It takes God's Word to strengthen and empower you to break away from these evil and worldly propensities.
4. Hide God's Word In Your Heart
Psalm 119:11 - "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."
Like a secret power in operation at all times, the Word of God is constituted to act as a deterrent against all evil in your life. In order to do so, however, it must be layed up, treasured, or hoarded in your heart so that, at a moment's notice, it is available to respond to life's situation.
5. Magnify God As Your Source Of Strength
Psalm 119:12 - "Blessed art Thou, O LORD..."
God is to be praised as your One and Only Preserver from evil. Through His Word, He keeps you from falling.
6. Cry Out For Instruction
Psalm 119:12 - "...teach me Thy statutes." Psalm 119:26 - "...teach me Thy statutes." Psalm 119:27 - "Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts..." Psalm 119:19 - "...hide not Thy commandments from me."
Become more and more acquainted with Jesus' ways so that you can walk accordingly.
7. Tell Others What You Have Learned
Psalm 119:13 - "With my lips have I declared all the judgments of Thy mouth." Psalm 119:27 - " shall I talk of Thy wondrous works."
Once you learn a principle, you are then responsible to share it with others so that they, in turn, will be able to walk uprightly. This practice will reinforce the teaching in your own heart.
8. Consider God's Word As Your Chief Joy In Life
Psalm 119: 14 - "I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches." Psalm 119:16 - "I will delight myself in Thy statutes..." Psalm 119:24 - "Thy testimonies also are my delight..."
Nothing - not even possessions, positions, or great wealth - can replace the Word as being the principal source of happiness and rejoicing in your heart.
The word "delight" used in the above Scripture actually means to skip about and jump for joy. With such exuberance, the Word is to have First Place in your life.
9. Allow God's Word To Rule Your Thoughts
Psalm 119:15 - "I will meditate in Thy precepts..."
You are instructed here to meditate frequently on God's words, works, and ways. They are to govern your thoughts and bring about self-examination and reflection to your path.
10. Don't Allow Anything Of This World To Crowd Out The Word
Psalm 119:15 - "I will...have respect unto Thy ways." Psalm 119:16 - "...I will not forget Thy word."
Have a constant regard for what the Word says and make your decisions accordingly, not allowing any "ungodly counsel" to steer you in the wrong direction.
11. Plead For God's Enabling Grace
Psalm 119:17 - "Deal bountifully with Thy servant, that I may live, and keep Thy Word."
The only way you can possibly live for God in this ungodly world is by God's Grace. As one in desperate straits, beg God to show His favor upon you so that you will "live" and not die.
12. Pray For A Special Illumination Of The Word
Psalm 119:18 - "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Law."
All the answers that you will ever need for life's problems or dilemmas are found in the Scriptures. Don't be satisfied with a surface knowledge of the Word. Be a diligent miner who digs deeply into God's inexhaustible resources. Be like Jacob and wrestle with the Lord for the answers that you so desperately need.
Each time that you open up the Word, ask God to remove the scales from your spiritual eyes that may have developed through Sin, compromise, or worldliness. Plead with Him to remove any veil of unbelief, doubt, fear, or hardness of heart that would prevent a clear vision of His mind. Implore Him to reveal, uncover, and make bare any and all spiritual Truths that are needful for your life at the moment.
13. Recognize Your Status In This World As A Christian
Psalm 119:19 - "I am a stranger in the earth..."
Never forget that this world is not your home. As a pilgrim who belongs to another country, you are just simply passing through. Hence, nothing is permanent or forever.
14. Hunger For More Of God
Psalm 119:20 - "My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto Thy judgments at all times."
Let your soul become desperate for God to the point of breaking. Long for His righteousness. Intensely desire to hear from Him.
15. Stay Humble
Psalm 119:21 - "Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from Thy commandments."
Recognize that pride in your heart will cause you to err from the Truth and reap the awful displeasure of God on your life. Stay away from it at all costs.
16. Watch Out For The Accusations
Psalm 119:22 - "Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept Thy testimonies." Psalm 119:23 - "Princes also did sit and speak against me..."
As soon as you determine in your heart that you are going to "go all the way" with Jesus, the devil will be sure to raise up the "Princes" to send "reproach and contempt" your way. There will be those - even in authority - who will try to tear you down from your place of excellence.
Because these "Princes" are not where they should be in the Lord, your testimony and life will be a direct affront to their lukewarmness, compromise, or deadness of soul and spirit. They will charge you with being self-righteous, hypocritical, insincere, fanatical, extreme, and overboard. Whatever you do, don't allow anyone to throw their "wet blankets" on your fire. Keep on keeping on for the Lord.
17. Recognize The Word As Your Only Counselor
Psalm 119:24 - "Thy testimonies also are my...counselors."
In this day of "anything goes," so many are running to man for answers because they simply do not know the difference between right and wrong.
The Scriptures are to be your One and Only "counselors" - "men of my counsel." You are to consider them as your closest Friends to whom you seek for godly advice, insight, or direction. Any "words" given to you that are not in keeping with the Word of God are to be trashed and treated with utmost contempt as something wicked, evil, and deadly.
18. Surrender All To Jesus
Psalm 119:26 - "I have declared my ways, and Thou heardest me..."
Don't allow any cares, troubles, anxieties, or plans to snuff out the Word in your heart and mind. Lay them at the feet of Jesus and leave them there. He can handle them - He's God.
Once again, we refer to the opening quote by Smith Wigglesworth - "I find nothing in the Bible but holiness, and nothing in the world but worldliness. Therefore, if I live in the world, I will become worldly; on the other hand, if I live in the Bible, I will become holy."
It all narrows down to one question - Are you living in the world or in the Bible?
That will determine whether you are worldly or holy - whether you are living in defeat or victory over Sin every day as God ordained.
It's not God's fault that you are not holy. He has given you every means to live a life that is pleasing in His sight.
This message outlines some possible steps to help you on your journey.
In looking over the 18 steps, how many are you already practicing? Which ones need to be developed or applied to your everyday life?
Why not take the time now to ask God for His Abundant Grace to make all 18 a part of your life?
May God Bless His Word.


Professor John Masterson, author of The Disorder of Things: A Foucauldian Approach to the Work of Nuruddin Farah, provides a list of some of the continent’s other rich talents.
1 Mariama Bâ
Born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1929, Bâ has come to be regarded as one of the most original writers to have emerged from west Africa.
Her life and work were preoccupied with issues such as gender relations, power and inequality, as well as the ways in which these were framed and affected by African and Islamic cultural beliefs. In many ways, her own narrative corresponded with a key feminist mantra: “The personal is political.”
Her early struggle for education informed her writing, both fictional and critical.
Mariama Bâ
Her first novel, So Long a Letter (1981), uses the raw material of her own life to create a narrative which, owing to its resonance with the experience of other African women, is widely acknowledged as a seminal feminist text.
She died before her second novel, Scarlet Song (1986), was published.
Since her death, academics and general readers alike have come to appreciate the peculiar power and considerable contribution of Bâ’s writing, as well as her political legacy.
While she composed her work in French, it has been translated into many different languages, and is read and studied worldwide.
Favourite text: So Long a Letter
2 Buchi Emecheta
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1944, Emecheta’s life and work has, in effect, set the stage for a new generation of west African female writers, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie perhaps the most high profile among them.
Like Adichie, much of Emecheta’s fiction is drawn from her diasporic experiences, having been educated in the former colonial centre of London before making a life and home there.
Emecheta’s early and heavily autobiographical novels, such as In the Ditch (1972) and Second-Class Citizen (1974), are key black British texts, concerned as they are with the struggles of Nigerian women and children to adapt to a home that is foreign in more ways than one.
Buchi Emecheta
In addition to her work as a novelist, Emecheta is celebrated for her writing for children as well as for a series of critical pieces.
Like Chinua Achebe and Adichie, Emecheta has provided a fictional exploration of the Biafran War in Destination Biafra (1982).
As with Bâ and Bessie Head, much of Emecheta’s most striking work, from The Slave Girl (1977) to The Joys of Motherhood (1979), is preoccupied with the ways in which writing can function as a mode of resistance within patriarchal and, therefore, often hostile cultures and contexts.
As such, a novel like the more recent The New Tribe (1999) supplements her oeuvre in provocative ways.
Favourite text: The Joys of Motherhood
3 Bessie Head
Born in Pietermaritzburg in 1937, Head passed away in 1986. Since her death, the significance and influence of her life and work has been brought more starkly into focus.
She is best known for three novels – When Rain Clouds Gather (1968), Maru (1971) and A Question of Power (1974).
As with the writing of Bâ and Emecheta, Head’s fiction is preoccupied with the issues, struggles and questions that defined her own highly unique narrative.
One of her most pressing concerns was the relationship between racial identity and notions of belonging, born as she was to a then “forbidden” union involving a black man and Scottish woman.
If much contemporary post-colonial fiction is dominated by themes of hybridity and mixture, often framed in somewhat saccharine ways, Head’s experiences and writing attend to the pain, sometimes even trauma, of being a mixed-race woman within a predominantly patriarchal, racist society.
But as with Bâ and Emecheta, the hope and beauty of her work comes from the creation of a singular voice driven by her commitment to writing as a form of correcting injustice and offering resistance.
Favourite text: A Question of Power
4 Ousmane Sembène
Born in Ziguinchor, southern Senegal, in 1923, Sembène is widely acknowledged as a seminal figure in both African literature and film.
As with Bâ, Emecheta, Nuruddin Farah, Head, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Yvonne Vera, Sembène’s work, on both page and screen, is centrally concerned with the cultural practices and political discourses surrounding the female body in Africa.
Ousmane Sembène
Before his death in 2007, Sembène won critical acclaim for Moolaadé (2004), a film that offers an uncompromising exploration of female circumcision.
It was a suitably provocative end to a life and career dedicated to the belief that art should play an interrogative, consciousness-raising role.
Alongside his scores of films, Sembène is probably best known for his second novel, which translated from its original French into God’s Bits of Wood (1960), as well as Xala, a novella written in 1973 that evolved into a film of the same name.
In their distinctive yet equally defiant ways, both texts attack political hypocrisy, whether colonial or neocolonial, while also critiquing the excesses of an often violent patriarchal culture.
For readers and viewers on the African continent and beyond, Sembène’s achievements and influence are enormous.
Favourite text: Xala
5 Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Born in Kamiriithu, Kenya, in 1938, Thiong’o is one of the most celebrated African intellectuals and writers.
He has enjoyed international acclaim as a novelist, essayist, playwright, social commentator and activist.
The experience of British colonialism and the Mau Mau struggle for independence, as well as Kenya’s position in the neocolonial era preoccupy much of Ngugi’s thought and writing.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o
He established himself with a series of novels published in the 1960s: Weep Not, Child (1964), The River Between (1965) and A Grain of Wheat (1967).
His combination of a distinctive prose style with provocative subject matter would come to define other works now considered canonical texts of African literature.
These include Petals of Blood (1977), the play Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want) (1977) and Caitani Mutharabaini (1981), later translated into English as Devil on the Cross (1982).
Volumes of essays and reflections, such as Decolonising the Mind (1986), Penpoints, Gunpoints and Dreams (1998), as well as his prison memoir, Detained (1981), have also been influential for generations of readers and scholars alike.
In 2004, he published his leviathan Gikuyu-language novel, Murogi wa Kagogo, translated as Wizard of the Crow.
Favourite text: A Grain of Wheat
6 Nuruddin Farah
Born in Baidoa in what was Italian Somaliland in 1945, Farah has produced a series of novels, plays, essays and journalistic reflections on his native Somalia.
His first novel, From a Crooked Rib (1970), established his concern with the particular struggles of women in the Horn of Africa.
This has only endured and intensified throughout his more than 40-year career.
To date, Farah has written three novelistic trilogies.
Nuruddin Farah
The first, Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship, comprising Sweet and Sour Milk (1979), Sardines (1981) and Close Sesame (1983), offers a quasi-Orwellian portrait of life under autocratic power.
The second, Blood in the Sun, featuring Maps (1986), Gifts (1992) and Secrets (1998), is set against the backdrop of civil conflict and famine in Somalia.
The most recent, Past Imperfect, made up of Links (2004), Knots (2007) and Crossbones (2011), provides a fictional exploration of everything from the botched US-led Operation Restore Hope to contemporary debates about international piracy.
Based in Cape Town, Farah has dedicated himself to telling stories about his homeland with a view to disrupting some of the rather more reductive tendencies in both colonial discourse and the contemporary media.
He is widely tipped to add his name to the list of African Nobel prize-winning writers.
Favourite text: Maps
7 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Born in Enugu, Nigeria, in 1977, Adichie has received popular and critical acclaim since the publication of her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, in 2003.
She is widely regarded as one of the most important voices to have emerged in contemporary African literature and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.
Adichie is often spoken of in the same breath as Achebe, with many believing she has assumed his creative mantel.
While meant as a form of tribute, such comparisons run the risk of deflecting attention from the singularity of Adichie’s authorial voice and vision.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
With the publication of Half of a Yellow Sun in 2006, for instance, she explored the Biafran War that was so central to Achebe’s literary project, among many others.
But there is no sense in which the novel is imitative, with its commercial and critical success confirming Adichie’s unique presence on the global literary stage.
As an author who divides her time between Nigeria and the US, she has drawn on her own experiences in a collection of short stories titled The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), as well as her most recent novel, Americanah (2013).
On the basis of her achievements to date, many predict Adichie’s status and profile will continue to grow.
Favourite text: Half of a Yellow Sun
8 Ayi Kwei Armah
Born in Takoradi, Ghana, in 1939, Armah is widely considered one of the most important African writers to have emerged in the post-colonial period.
Educated at Harvard, Armah has worked as a translator and scriptwriter, in addition to his activities as a novelist.
His first book, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968), has achieved something approaching canonical status in Anglophone African literature.
With strong echoes of the French existential tradition associated with Sartre and Camus, the novel is often presented as an exemplar of the literature of disillusionment.
Ayi Kwei Armah
It centres on a character trying to make sense of his life, as well as that of the nation, following what can be seen as the betrayal of Ghana’s independence dreams.
A critique of a system overrun by nepotism and corruption, the novel still packs a punch almost 50 years on.
While Armah’s vision seems dominated by the grim and grimy, glimmers of hope for an alternative future, for both the protagonist and the nation, do exist.
As such, arguably the most telling part of the title is “not yet”.
Armah followed The Beautyful Ones with Fragments (1970), Why Are We So Blest? (1972), Two Thousand Seasons (1973), The Healers (1978), Osiris Rising (1995) and The Eloquence of the Scribes (2006).
In so doing, he has secured his position as one of the most prominent and distinctive African writers.
Favourite text: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
9 Yvonne Vera
Born in 1964 in Bulawayo in what was then Southern Rhodesia, Vera’s life was cut tragically short when, in 2005, she died of meningitis aged just 40.
She has come to be regarded as one of the most important sub-Saharan female novelists to have emerged in recent decades.
Her career began in earnest during her time as a student in Toronto, Canada, where she published pieces in a local magazine.
This would prove the catalyst for a short story collection, Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals (1993), as well as a series of novels.
Yvonne Vera
These include Nehanda (1993), Without a Name (1994), Under the Tongue (1996), Butterfly Burning (1998) and The Stone Virgins (2002).
Vera returned to Zimbabwe in 1995, and was a source of great inspiration and support to many up-and-coming artists in her role as regional director of the national gallery in Bulawayo from 1997 to 2003.
That Vera was working on a new novel, Obedience, when she died shows her commitment to her work even in the most debilitating of circumstances.
Her work is intimately concerned with the politics of the female body, in relation to such traumatising experiences as infanticide, rape and abortion, seen in terms of wider issues concerning the Zimbabwean body politic.
Favourite text: Butterfly Burning
10 Wole Soyinka
Born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in 1934, Soyinka’s career has spanned many genres – from his work as a playwright, poet, novelist and essayist – and many guises, including regular appointments as visiting professor at several top universities around the world.
Wole Soyinka
He won the Nobel prize in literature in 1986 and is often spoken of in the company of Achebe and Ngugi.
Like his fellow Nigerian, Soyinka was outspoken on the subject of the Biafran War, calling for a cease-fire in 1967.
He was subsequently imprisoned for just under two years, a period he recounts in his memoir, The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972).
Throughout a more than 50-year career, Soyinka has produced scores of novels, poems and plays. Some of his best-known work includes the plays The Trial of Brother Jero (1963), A Dance of the Forests (1963), Death and the King’s Horseman (1975) and A Play of Giants (1984), as well as the novels The Interpreters (1965) and Season of Anomy (1973).
Collections of his poetry include Poems from Prison (1969), A Shuttle in the Crypt (1972) and Mandela’s Earth and Other Poems (1988).
This considerable body of work has secured his status as one of the most prominent voices on and from the continent. His plays are now as likely to be performed in London as they are in Lagos.

BLACK AND WHITE (poem by Akintola Akindele)

Black and white

Whites stand for good,
Black stands for evil,
Black represent  the devil,
White represent the angels

I disagree with this,
I believe not in this,
I am black,
I am not a devil

Black is beautiful,
Black is caring,
Black is rare,
Black is gold

Black is Luther King,
White is Adolf Hitler,
Black is Idi Amin,
White is Abraham Lincoln

Never judge a book,
By a single chapter,
Never judge someone,
With their skin color

Look carefully,
And you will separate the goats from sheep,
Study patiently,
And you will separate weed from crops

Short Biography
Akintola Akindele Abdulqadir is a poet, writter and aspiring lawyer who goes with the pen-name Abu Tolha, He has written few poems and short story like Dilemma, contentment, sweet pain, My mother, wedding night published on his site.
He hails from osun  state and lives currently in the state capital, osogbo. He can be contacted on this number 08176370504 and email here

Monday, November 23, 2015

BEWARD (poem by Sunsampaul)


Don't be perplex when you hear the boom boom sound of boko's alarm
Like a trumpet, it will fall the wall of your heart
Giving you heart attack
Shattering bodies in the space of air

Don't be dumbfounded when you hear
That the viral diseases are widespread
Eliminating 30% of souls monthly
Increasing our death rate
Making us to purchase melancholy without epiphany of symphony

Won't you be happy to
Hear that the chibok girls are back , safe and sound
Or you think it isn't possible
Why give up on God
While He is still on the throne
Why give up on your leaders
While they are on duty
Just believe chibok girls will be back soon

I deduce you haven't heard this
Just know that my prowess is from inspirations, imaginations and experiences
Why can't you be radical and passionate for
What you love doing
For when you are passionate
You will touch life with your muse

Beware, I tell you most solemnly to beware
For the fact that you sing
Doesn't make you a song
For the fact that you act
Doesn't make you a movie
For the fact that you motivate
Doesn't make you an inspiration

For the fact that you write Doesn't make you a book
For the fact that you are a comedian
Doesn't make you a joke
For the fact that you are a poet
Doesn't make you a poem
For the fact that you dance
Doesn't make you a rhythm
For the fact that you rap
Doesn't make you a rhyme

#Sunsampaul d Philosopher


#Sunsampaul d Philosopher

My Lit-ray-churl in Literature
Filled with artistic creatures
Of benevolence nature
I write to fuss my pals with my muse
Making them know I lit ray of churl
Burning my foes in woe
Leaving them unclad behaving like a clown

My Lit-ray-churl is the father of Literature
My muse the first son of art
My prowess the grand patron of philosophy, logic, ethics, metaphysics,
epistemology and aesthetics.

My Methodology I found lodging between the thighs of
ecology,eulogy,sociology psychology and physiology.

My Lit-ray-churl in Literature is all texts
Written about a specific field of Philosophy
Searching for the past ,the present and the future of the figurative
pictures I saw in nature

Developing human mind,
To accommodate the sweetness and bitterness of life
Speaking reality in formality without partiality
I write from experiences not from expectations

The prowess in my Lit-ray-churl reveals the unseen of man's heart
To show the truth hidden in darkness
Sharing wisdom from the root of Solomon
Basking in ecstasies of my prophecies

I Lit rays in Prose
Evaluate Poetry
And bisect Drama
I uses words not languages
I spread muse that amuse and fuss
My Lit-ray-churl in literature
Is an artistic work of prowess

#Sunsampaul d Philosopher
#My Lit-ray-churl in Literarure

Friday, November 20, 2015


IMAGE: Getty Images
In the words of John Quincy Adams, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
Great leadership has the potential to excite people to achieve extraordinary things, which makes leadership among the highest of callings.
Measure yourself against these 26 attributes and ask yourself how you can lead from your very best qualities:

1. Authentic

Be genuine and reliable, trustworthy, and always the same person.

2. Brave

Develop courage in the face of risks--and bad outcomes.

3. Character-driven

Character resonates with people and impels them to follow and trust.

4. Decisive

Determination and daring make great leaders unshakeable.

5. Engaging

Connect with enthusiasm, empowerment and encouragement; remember that everyone can make a positive contribution.

6. Fearless

If you are brave in your thinking and daring in your actions, you can accomplish anything.

7. Goal-oriented

Goals provide governance to vision and mission, guiding people and organizations to a meaningful purpose.

8. Humble

Leadership with humility means service to others, ownership of your own mistakes and failures, and openness to learning.

9. Inspiring

Leading with intuition and intelligence gives everyone around you room to grow.

10. Just

Always seek to be guided by truth and reason; be a champion of equality and fairness.

11. Knowledgeable

Be so well informed, learned, and cultivated that people are drawn to you for their own enlightenment.

12. Listener

Good leaders speak; great leaders listen. When you're listening to others, you're learning from them.

13. Motivating

Mentor and encourage those around you. Inspire them to take chances.

14. Noble

To be a great leader, live in a way that draws others to emulate you.

15. Optimistic

To lead with optimism is to be confident, cheerful and positive, leading to openness and opportunity for all.

16. Progressive

Keep moving, increasing and growing, and pioneering new frontiers. Those around you will gain energy from being part of a dynamic enterprise.

17. Qualitative

Always choose quality over quantity; hold yourself and those around you to the highest standard.

18. Reliable

Show people they can count on you in good times and bad by living up to your word. Be dependable and consistent.

19. Supportive

When you're encouraging, caring and sympathetic and helpful, offering feedback both positive and negative, you give those around you the confidence they need to persist.

20. Trustworthy

People are reassured by dependability, reliability, credibility and competence. Have faith in those you're leading, and they will have faith in you.

21. Unbiased

Be impartial and open-minded; hold to the value of listening, learning, giving chances and being open to opinions.

22. Visionary

Be innovative, imaginative, and perceptive. What differentiates great leaders from the rest is they not only have plenty of ideas but also commit to carrying them out.

23. Wise

Wisdom in leadership is more than just being wise--it's using that wisdom to give insight and inspiration to others.

24. Xcellent (with apologies for the liberty in spelling)

Aim for distinction and virtuosity, motivate yourself to always give your highest quality effort.

25. Yearning

One test of a true leader is a constant longing and hunger. Always be looking to be more, do more and make a difference in a big way.

26. Zealous

A devout drive to be dedicated to something bigger than yourself fuels a fierce passion to be help others be successful. Embrace that intensity and put it to work to better the world.
When you embrace these attributes from A to Z, you walk the path of great leadership. Begin now and see where you end up.


. In order to write a good article, first choose your topic and decide its boundaries. (The topic must be narrowed as much as possible, and the scope of it must be outlined clearly.)
2. Make a serious and detailed research on the topic. (Be sure that you have not missed any important issue written about the topic.)
3. Read treatises, articles and books about the topic until you are sure that you have comprehended the topic with every aspect. (Your comprehension of your readings determines the quality of your article as much as the quantity and quality of your readings do.)
4. If your topic is still too broad, revise your topic according to your readings and narrow it as much as possible. (Not limiting the topic means that you will write a heavy speech and a common composition.)
5. Make your plan! (Writing what pops into mind without any plan is useless. Plan is your road map.)
6. Classify the knowledge that you read and collect according to the plan.
7. Leave out all irrelevant information!
8. Start to write your article according to your plan. (Do not wait to be inspired. You will be inspired as soon as you begin to write.)
9. Write your article in a clear, understandable and plain language. (Using a pompous language, using obscure words and making long sentences are not the features of a good article.)
10. People of all ages must be able to understand your claims, aim and sentences easily.
11. It should be clear what you mean with the term, concepts and words you use in the article. (While writing an article, keep an ordinary and a terminology dictionary with you at all times. The utmost danger an article faces is to use terms and concepts wrongly. Make sure that you don’t overuse terminology that could distract readers either. Terms are the fruits, frames, keys and summary of knowledge. Use them sparingly.)
12. In the introduction part, write clearly the basic aim of the article and the conclusion you want to reach.
13. Make the first sentences of each paragraph the main ideas of them.
14. Be careful that your article does not have spelling mistakes. Print out after you finish, and have a quick but careful check to find any errors.
15. A good article is sufficiently long enough. Cross out any irrelevant words or even sentences. It is a good article if it is saved from unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs or information.
16. Quote the sentences and information that do not belong to you referring to them either by footnotes or parenthesis. (The more an article includes references the more qualified it is. Value and eminence of an article lies in the knowledge and scholars it refers to.)
17. Make a special study of conclusion part of the article. (The conclusion is not the summary of article. It is a part that opens a door, makes an evaluation, and shows your contribution to the world of ideas, or academia.)
18. As a good introduction of an article shows your knowledge, the conclusion of a good article shows your penetration to the future, in other words your horizon.
19. A good article does not make repetitions of previous ones, instead it is a scientific text that provides openings, stimulates and contributes.
20. After completing your article, send it to at least three, if possible five, people on whose knowledge and perspective you rely. Request them to criticize your article. Then edit your article according to their critics, and after reading again and again till you are sure, send it to relevant places to be published.
(While sending your article to be published, do not forget to pray to God
in order that He gives effectiveness to the article; because there should be sincerity in an article as much as the seriousness.)


Tip #1 Know Your Goal.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?
You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you begin any project. Writing a poem is no exception.
Before you begin, ask yourself what you want your poem to “do.” Do you want your poem to describe an event in your life, protest a social injustice, or describe the beauty of nature? Once your know the goal of your poem, you can conform your writing to that goal. Take each main element in your poem and make it serve the main purpose of the poem.

Tip #2 Avoid Clichés

Stephen Minot definesa cliché as: “A metaphor or simile that has become so familiar from overuse that the vehicle … no longer contributes any meaning whatever to the tenor. It provides neither the vividness of a fresh metaphor nor the strength of a single unmodified word….The word is also used to describe overused but nonmetaphorical expressions such as ‘tried and true’ and ‘each and every'” (Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction and Drama, 405).
Cliché also describes other overused literary elements. “Familiar plot patterns and stock characters are clichés on a big scale” (Minot 148). Clichés can be overused themes, character types, or plots. For example, the “Lone Ranger” cowboy is a cliché because it has been used so many times that people no longer find it original.
A work full of clichés is like a plate of old food: unappetizing.
Clichés work against original communication. People value creative talent. They want to see work that rises above the norm. When they see a work without clichés, they know the writer has worked his or her tail off, doing whatever it takes to be original. When they see a work full to the brim with clichés, they feel that the writer is not showing them anything above the ordinary. (In case you hadn’t noticed, this paragraph is chock full of clichés… I’ll bet you were bored to tears.)
Clichés dull meaning. Because clichéd writing sounds so familiar, people can complete finish whole lines without even reading them. If they don’t bother to read your poem, they certainly won’t stop to think about it. If they do not stop to think about your poem, they will never encounter the deeper meanings that mark the work of an accomplished poet.

Examples of Clichés:

  • busy as a bee
  • tired as a dog
  • working my fingers to bone
  • beet red
  • on the horns of a dilemma
  • blind as a bat
  • eats like a horse
  • eats like a bird

How to Improve a Cliché

I will take the cliché “as busy as a bee” and show how you can express the same idea without cliché.
  1. Determine what the clichéd phrase is trying to say.
    In this case, I can see that “busy as a bee” is a way to describe the state of being busy.
  2. Think of an original way to describe what the cliché is trying to describe.
    For this cliché, I started by thinking about busyness. I asked myself the question, “What things are associated with being busy?” I came up with: college, my friend Jessica, corporation bosses, old ladies making quilts and canning goods, and a computer, fiddlers fiddling. From this list, I selected a thing that is not as often used in association with busyness: violins.
  3. Create a phrase using the non-clichéd way of description.
    I took my object associated with busyness and turned it into a phrase: “I feel like a bow fiddling an Irish reel.” This phrase communicates the idea of “busyness” much better than the worn-out, familiar cliché. The reader’s mind can picture the insane fury of the bow on the violin, and know that the poet is talking about a very frenzied sort of busyness. In fact, those readers who know what an Irish reel sounds like may even get a laugh out of this fresh way to describe “busyness.”
Try it! Take a cliché and use these steps to improve it. You may even end up with a line you feel is good enough to put in a poem!

Tip #3 Avoid Sentimentality.

Sentimentality is “dominated by a blunt appeal to the emotions of pity and love …. Popular subjects are puppies, grandparents, and young lovers” (Minot 416). “When readers have the feeling that emotions like rage or indignation have been pushed artificially for their own sake, they will not take the poem seriously” (132).
Minot says that the problem with sentimentality is that it detracts from the literary quality of your work (416). If your poetry is mushy or teary-eyed, your readers may openly rebel against your effort to invoke emotional response in them. If that happens, they will stop thinking about the issues you want to raise, and will instead spend their energy trying to control their own gag reflex.

Tip #4 Use Images.

“BE A PAINTER IN WORDS,” says UWEC English professor emerita, poet, and songwriter Peg Lauber. She says poetry should stimulate six senses:
  • sight
  • hearing
  • smell
  • touch
  • taste
  • kinesiology (motion)
  • “Sunlight varnishes magnolia branches crimson” (sight)
  • “Vacuum cleaner’s whir and hum startles my ferret” (hearing)
  • “Penguins lumber to their nests” (kinesiology)
Lauber advises her students to produce fresh, striking images (“imaginative”). Be a camera. Make the reader be there with the poet/speaker/narrator. (See also: “Show, Don’t (Just) Tell“)

Tip #5 Use Metaphor and Simile.

Use metaphor and simile to bring imagery and concrete words into your writing.
A metaphor is a statement that pretends one thing is really something else:
Example: “The lead singer is an elusive salamander.”
This phrase does not mean that the lead singer is literally a salamander. Rather, it takes an abstract characteristic of a salamander (elusiveness) and projects it onto the person. By using metaphor to describe the lead singer, the poet creates a much more vivid picture of him/her than if the poet had simply said “The lead singer’s voice is hard to pick out.”
A simile is a statement where you say one object is similar to another object. Similes use the words “like” or “as.”
Example: “He was curious as a caterpillar” or “He was curious, like a caterpillar”
This phrase takes one quality of a caterpillar and projects it onto a person. It is an easy way to attach concrete images to feelings and character traits that might usually be described with abstract words.
Note: A simile is not automatically any more or less “poetic” than a metaphor. You don’t suddenly produce better poems if you replace all your similes with metaphors, or vice versa. The point to remember is that comparison, inference, and suggestion are all important tools of poetry; similes and metaphors are tools that will help in those areas.

Tip #6 Use Concrete Words Instead of Abstract Words.

Concrete words describe things that people experience with their senses.
  • orange
  • warm
  • cat
A person can see orange, feel warm, or hear a cat.
Poets use concrete words help the reader get a “picture” of what the poem is talking about. When the reader has a “picture” of what the poem is talking about, he/she can better understand what the poet is talking about.
Abstract words refer to concepts or feelings.
  • liberty
  • happy
  • love
“Liberty” is a concept, “happy” is a feeling, and no one can agree on whether “love” is a feeling, a concept or an action.
A person can’t see, touch, or taste any of these things. As a result, when used in poetry, these words might simply fly over the reader’s head, without triggering any sensory response. Further, “liberty,” “happy,” and “love” can mean different things to different people. Therefore, if the poet uses such a word, the reader may take a different meaning from it than the poet intended.

Change Abstract Words Into Concrete Words

To avoid problems caused by using abstract words, use concrete words.
Example: “She felt happy.”
This line uses the abstract word “happy.” To improve this line, change the abstract word to a concrete image. One way to achieve this is to think of an object or a scene that evokes feelings of happiness to represent the happy feeling.
Improvement: “Her smile spread like red tint on ripening tomatoes.”
This line uses two concrete images: a smile and a ripening tomato. Describing the smile shows the reader something about happiness, rather than simply coming right out and naming the emotion. Also, the symbolism of the tomato further reinforces the happy feelings. Red is frequently associated with love; ripening is a positive natrual process; food is further associated with being satisfied.
Prof. Jerz belabors Kara’s point:Extension: Now, let’s do something with this image.
She sulked in the garden, reticent...hard;
Unwilling to face his kisses -- or unable.
One autumn morn she felt her sour face
Ripen to a helpless smile, tomato-red.
Her parted lips whispered, "Hello, sunshine!"
OK, the image has gotten embarrassingly obvious now, but you can see how the introduction of the tomato permits us to make many additional connections. While Kara’s original example simply reported a static emotional state — “She felt happy,” the image of the ripening tomato, which Kara introduced as a simple simile to describe a smile, has grown into something much more complex. Regardless of what the word “tomato” invoked in your mind, an abstraction like “happy” can never stretch itself out to become a whole poem, without relying on concrete images. –DGJ

Tip #7 Communicate Theme.

Poetry always has a theme. Theme is not just a topic, but an idea with an opinion.
Theme = Idea + Opinion
Topic: “The Vietnam War”
This is not a theme. It is only a subject. It is just an event. There are no ideas, opinions, or statements about life or of wisdom contained in this sentence
Theme: “History shows that despite our claims to be peace-loving, unfortunately each person secretly dreams of gaining glory through conflict.”
This is a theme. It is not just an event, but a statement about an event. It shows what the poet thinks about the event. The poet strives to show the reader his/her theme during the entire poem, making use of literary techniques.

Tip #8 Subvert the Ordinary.

Poets’ strength is the ability to see what other people see everyday in a new way. You don’t have to be special or a literary genius to write good poems–all you have to do is take an ordinary object, place, person, or idea, and come up with a new perception of it.
Example: People ride the bus everyday.
Poets’ Interpretation: A poet looks at the people on the bus and imagines scenes from their lives. A poet sees a sixty-year old woman and imagines a grandmother who runs marathons. A poet sees a two-year old boy and imagines him painting with ruby nail polish on the toilet seat, and his mother struggling to not respond in anger.
Take the ordinary and turn it on its head. (The word “subvert” literally means “turn upside down”.)

Tip #9 Rhyme with Extreme Caution.

Rhyme and meter (the pattern of stressed and unstressed words) can be dangerous if used the wrong way. Remember sing-song nursery rhymes? If you choose a rhyme scheme that makes your poem sound sing-song, it will detract from the quality of your poem.
I recommend that beginning poets stick to free verse. It is hard enough to compose a poem without dealing with the intricacies of rhyme and meter. (Note: see Jerz’s response to this point, in “Poetry Is For the Ear.”)
If you feel ready to create a rhymed poem, refer to chapters 6-10 of Stephen Minot’s bookThree Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction, and Drama. 6th ed., for more help.

Tip #10 Revise, Revise, Revise.

The first completed draft of your poem is only the beginning. Poets often go through several drafts of a poem before considering the work “done.”
To revise:
  • Put your poem away for a few days, and then come back to it. When you re-read it, does anything seem confusing? Hard to follow? Do you see anything that needs improvement that you overlooked the first time? Often, when you are in the act of writing, you may leave out important details because you are so familiar with the topic. Re-reading a poem helps you to see it from the “outsider’s perspective” of a reader.
  • Show your poem to others and ask for criticism. Don’t be content with a response like, “That’s a nice poem.” You won’t learn anything from that kind of response. Instead, find people who will tell you specific things you need to improve in your poem.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Academic activities in Gaskiya College in the Ijora area of Lagos State were paralysed on Wednesday after a pupil in Senior Secondary School 2, Saka Ahmed, aka Ejo (snake), allegedly stabbed his senior, Saheed Jimoh, to death.

PUNCH Metro gathered that 19-year-old Jimoh, who was a school prefect, had punished Ejo on Tuesday for an offence which had yet to be ascertained. They were said to have fought each other outside the school premises after the closing time.
It was gathered that Jimoh was about entering the school when Ejo, who was said to have been lurking around a food canteen near the school, ambushed him and stabbed him with a knife in the chest.
He reportedly fled the scene, leaving Jimoh for dead in a pool of blood. It was said that he gave up the ghost shortly after he arrived at a private hospital where he was rushed to.
It was learnt that the incident was reported at the Amukoko Police Division.

The deceased’s uncle, Mr. Shakiru Oluayo, who lives on Adejiyan Street, Amukoko area, said Jimoh was brought to Lagos in 2005 by his mother to continue his studies.
Oluayo said his nephew had initially decided not to go to school on the fateful day but rescinded his decision because he did not want to miss classes. The uncle added that Jimoh’s mother had yet to be informed of the incident.

He said “Saheed (Jimoh) was a school prefect. I do not know what happened between him and the boy (Ejo) that made Saheed to punish him. He was supposed to be in SS3 like Saheed but he had to repeat a class.
“I learnt that as my nephew was coming to school that morning, the boy was waiting for him at a food canteen near the school gate. He attacked him all of a sudden and stabbed him in the chest.

“For the past 10 years he had been living with me, he was easy-going and decent and all our neighbours can attest to that. In fact, he did not want to go to school on that fateful day but he later said he would go so as not to miss a practical class he was to have because he was a science student.”
An eyewitness, Kayode Aderibigbe, told our correspondent that it was too late for Jimoh to run to safety by the time he knew the assailant came after him.

He said, “He (Ejo) had been waiting for Jimoh. He brought out a knife from his bag. Saheed ran when he saw him with the knife but ejo chased him and stabbed him. I followed the pupils who rushed him to the hospital but he was confirmed dead on arrival. The police can trace Ejo.”
The school security guard, who declined to give his name, turned down our correspondent’s request to speak with the principal when our correspondent visited the school.

He said, “You cannot see the principal now. Come tomorrow (today). The principal and teachers have been to the hospital where the pupil was taken to. Besides, the incident did not happen inside the school.”
Some parents who also learnt of the incident besieged the school but were not allowed to enter.
A mechanic in the area, who identified himself only as Joshua, said he saw Jimoh and ejo fighting on Tuesday.

“I was there when they were fighting yesterday (on Tuesday) after they closed from school but I did not really know what led to it. In my observation, Jimoh subdued him during the fight. I guess he (Ejo) later went to attack him with a weapon since he could not win in a fair fight,” he said.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joe Offor, confirmed the attack. He said a manhunt had been launched for the suspect.

He said, “According to the information we have, the pupil was stabbed by the school gate with a knife by a fellow student of the same school, who is at large.
“The victim was confirmed dead at the hospital. Investigation is ongoing.”
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