Thursday, July 7, 2016


 ...written by Tijjani Muhammad Musa...

Poetry for some "poets" is making nonsense of common sense, instead of making common sense of nonsense. - Tijjani Muhammad Musa

I read an article recently published online where outgoing Newsnight presenter, Jeremy Paxman judging Forward prize for poetry says poetry though an art form has 'rather connived at its own irrelevance' as he believes that poets today have stopped talking to the public and are only addressing each other.

I reflected on what he opined and could not agree more, though not completely. As beautiful a means of conveying the innermost secrets of souls, as poetry is to the outside world, which most, if not all of us would want to relish in, it is found by many to be a no-go area.

Fascinating as it is, yet many end up disenchanted, disappointed and even detesting poetry as well as those endowed (poets) with the ability to express this very important genre of literature. Ask anyone what their opinions about poetry are and they will tell you without hesitation or sentiments that they find it uninteresting, boring, confusing or absolutely inaccessible.

Prod further why they feel like that towards poems, poets and poetry, many folks would tell you that they can not make any sense out of what has been written by their authors. So, rather than find it a pleasant experience, most find reading poems a frustrating exercise. They even wonder if poets are not some kind of psychos, parading themselves as writers of nonsense, as far as most commoners are concerned.

Some poets think that going through "thick rain forest, up mountains, down jungled valleys, wading through monsoon rain forest, crawling over hot, scorching, thirsty sahara desert" etc, just to arrive at a destination (meaning), where using a simple straight line (less is more, remember) would have served the purpose, with a resultant deeper, mystifying meaning, is what makes their writing poetry and their ability apt.

They think being invisible to understand is the hallmark of a good poet. So they do all they can to confuse people with a mixed grill of words, most of which would require a dictionary or google for the reader to comprehend what they are trying to express. Now who has the time in this era of "timeless"-ness, for such a waste of time?

Most readers, therefore choose to ignore them and their writings. Hating poetry and so-called poets as a consequence. Sadly, most of these cacophonic writers who call themselves "poets" do not care about the negative impact their attitude is having on the genre. In fact, such "poets" see themselves as a failure, if people should get to decipher what they have written as poetry.

Thus they do their utmost best to ensure no one, except may be a few, understands what they are writing. Basking in the lil' attention few people give them by asking them to explain a word, line or two in their "works", believing that that is what makes them outstanding, unique.

I often ask myself about my poetry; of what use is writing something, that most, if not all my readers would not understand? Where effective communication is lacking, what is the essence of taking the trouble to communicate in the first place? Does it not amount to waste of one's creative writing ability if what one has written is consumed and understood by only a small fraction of a potential target audience?

Thus I write my poems, mostly with simple ordinary day to day words, so that many would relate to the ordinary, surface meanings such familiar words create and convey on one hand. This I've discovered has attracted and transformed many hitherto haters of poetry to admirers and lovers of the genre.

Yet for those capable thinking beyond first impressions, gifted with in-depth analysis and sober reflections, they see what the ordinary mind or eyes can not even begin to think exit in there. Thus many see my poetry as "Simple, yet complicated" Simple in diction, but complicated in decipherable meanings.

I often cite the similitude of the mobile telephone phenomenon to give the exact insight I want poets to realize. When only a few hundreds had access to mobile handsets, the industry made little or no impact on our society. And now that millions have handsets, how important is the communication sector to the economy.

Same scenerio goes for poetry. It is suffering from disinterest and lack of high patronage from the public due to the fact that some so-called poets chose to make it impossible for the public to have access to the beauty of poetry by writing it in an extra-terrestrial language instead of making it reachable, readable and pleasurable.

And unless poetry is presented in a format that everyone can relate to, regardless of their intellectual and educational status, so that each at his or her own level can make meaning of what he or she reads, poetry would still be regarded as an elitist form of literature that is beyond the reach of common man, which should not be the case. Poetry's beauty should be for all.

(c)2016 Tijjani M. M./DesignWorld Int'l
All Rights Reserved

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