Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Poetry Tag

My good friend Rethabile has tagged me today. So, I get to talk about something that I hold dear. Yes, I get to talk about writing and poetry! I hope that you all will learn something new about me. Ke a leboha, ntate!

1. Question one: Why do you write poetry (or literature) at all?

This congenital impulse in me was conceived through the Black oral tradition. My grandmother, Eunice was the family griot. I would listen intently to the stories that she would tell me as a child. These were stories passed down to her by her elders and she was more than willing to pass them on to me. I was an inquisitive, bright-eyed little boy with dozens of questions about who we were and who we are. All of this has compelled me to pick up the pen.

2. Question two: What is your favorite poem? You know, the one you'd have loved to have written, the one by whose standard you base all other works of art. If your life depended on answering this question, what poem would you suggest to the person holding the knife to your throat?

That would have to be the song, ZOOM Lyrics - COMMODORES. I know that Lionel is no Wole Soyinka or Gwendolyn Brooks, but I keep these lyrics pinned up near my desk. The lyrics seem to express exactly how I feel about life. The words are beautiful and definitely poetry.

3. Question three: According to you, what is the state of poetry today? Is poetry flourishing or dying?

I think of poetry the same way that I think of Jazz. Poetry is something that cannot be contained. It evolves and it is shaped and formed by the experiences of the people.

4. Question four: What kind of poetry (or literature) do you dislike, and would not consider buying?

I would not subscribe to or buy any poetry that is based on hate or contempt for God (Trinity), or another man as an ethnic group/race.

5. Question five: Between the styles of Come (by Makhosana Xaba) and word speaks (by Kojo Baffoe) which do you prefer? Care to tell us why? Obviously, Makhosana and Kojo aren't required to answer this question.

I can’t choose one because they both appeal to a part of me. Mme Xaba’s poem appeals that part of me that loves who we are as Africans and people of African descent (In other words, Africans). Mr. Baffoe’s poem appeals to my love of language and expression. They were both passionate in different ways. They were both beautiful!

6. Question six: What was the last poetry book you bought?

Leadbelly: poems, by Tyehimba Jess. I met this brother at the restaurant, Busboys and Poets. here in Washington, DC. He was hanging out with poet/activist Tony Medina. I had a great time conversing and laughing with these men. Look out for a review soon.

7. Question seven: Where do you go for poetry on the web?

All over, but I’m linked to a few on my sidebar under “Educators, Writers, & Poets.”

8. Question eight: Do you talk poetry (or literature) with friends and family? "Hi honey -- Hey, I read this incredible poem today..."

I sent half of my family some of my poetry a few weeks back by email. I feel that it is important for family to know us on more than a surface level. They need to know that there is more to me than just being “Stevie.”

9. Question nine: What one piece of advice would you give to a beginning poet (or writer in general)? One. What would you tell them to do or not to do?

I would tell them the advice that I repeat in my own head over and over, “Stephen, don’t worry about making it perfect the first time around…just write!

10. Question ten: What line comes to you after the following two verses (in other words, please write the third verse -- these are spontaneous lines from me and are no part of any poem I'm writing or will be writing).

When the light from the lantern
beamed and fell upon the child,

The illumination of her smile
cast a shadow on my pain
And all was better for a while

By the way, I'd like to tag Urban Butterfly for this one. Come on fly! *smile*

photo: Pen and a Pad
by: S Bess

Sources:,, and

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