SOAP-BARS (by Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize Judge Emmanuel-Abdalmasih Samson)

Read Time:3 Minute, 27 Second
Soap Bars by Emmanuel-Abdalmasih Samson

like soap-bars
in water
we dissolve

Emmanuel-Abdalmasih Samson is a purpose teacher, marriage and family counsellor, youth and children coach, purpose-driven leadership trainer, nation builder and poet.

Reading through the poems was a tour guide into new and strange places. I followed to see where they wanted me to go, the experience was rewarding yet very difficult, because one has to narrow down the whole entries to ten, then three.

Though the poems were good, most of them were heavy on message and lean on craft, ingenuity, precision, concision and risk. These are the tyres on which poem stands and moves. Where any of these tyres is missing there won’t be balance and the poem won’t able to move forward. There was over dependency on cliché, abstract nouns, unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, and overwriting which makes it prosaic. Many of the poems failed on the basis of technicality (spelling, grammar, punctuation, and so on) and creativity (figures of speech or imagery, rhythm, craft) as if there was not care in the process of creating them. There were many wrong choices of words. Wrong choice of word is like playing a footballer in the wrong position. Except in case of a pun, the poem won’t be a winner.

Since poetry is about showing than telling, adjectives and adverbs must be employed sparingly so as not to give your readers (and critics) the impression that you don’t know what is poetry or what it should do. Don’t just rhyme for rhyming sake as in some of the poems.

Poetry as an art demands more than talent. Having the talent to write poetry does not make one a poet. Developing the talent is what makes one a poet.

Many people have the talent of becoming poets, but never became one, because they never spend time to develop their craft and inventiveness. It is the combination of craft and inventiveness that makes the poem great, not the subject. The price for a good writing is patience. And patience works with time. It needs time to mature. Don’t be in a hurry to show the world your work. Be patient. Rewrite, rethink, rewrite until the the piece is well crafted.

A poem is a piece of writing that mixes figures of speech (or imagery) and rhythm in verse form. Imagery gives poetry its attractiveness, while rhythm gives it musicality of language. A poem without rhythm is a man without heartbeat. A balanced mixture of figures of speech and rhythm is what gives birth to good poetry.

A poet is a sensuous journalist whose art gives the reader access to encounter reality in the freshest way possible. We all have the raw materials for writing poetry, but a poet is one who has (developed) the ability to articulate them like a professional cinematographer.

A good poem employs the usage of original tropes (or figures of speech). A good poem should be able to offer the readers a new lens that holds the power to change the way they see things, giving them countless insights and perceptions. A good poem will always surprise and delight you, thereby making the piece evocative and unforgettable. A good poem reinvents and redefines things; in the process elevates its theme and the reader to new level of pleasure and enlightenment. A good poem erases the line between real and surreal and immerses the reader in the experience. This fills the reader with the yearning to read the poem again and again and again.
A good poem opens itself to new and many layers of meanings. A good poem must be able break down the reader’s ability to dismiss it as stereotype. This will make it personal and universal, at once.

Though it is good to be inventive, read and study the masters and your contemporaries, both local and international, see how they made it work. Read, study, write and rewrite.

Best of writings to all of you!

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