Poets are literary artists who express emotions, ideas and thoughts through the use of verse; a creative writing technique typically characterized by a certain rhythm and style. Although many people associate poetry with words that rhyme, a poet may choose one of many different writing styles to convey his or her message.
Our first literary Kreative Klinik was facilitated by Mutuzo Irene Esther aka Noisey , a seasoned spoken word artist, poet and Board member of the Lantern Meet Foundation. She shared her journey and a few gems to guide those on the same path.
‘’Growing up, I was one of those kids that loved doing a lot of things. I loved to sing, dance, talk, write, etc. but even though I did all these, I could not pinpoint out one specific thing I wanted to do. It was until at the age of 17 when I discovered and fell in love with poetry when I knew that was it for me.
Studying Literature in School, taught me how to appreciate poetry: the different styles, language, words, rhythm, satire and how it all works. I enjoyed reading and writing it but the real turning point was when the Lantern Meet poets visited my school (Nabisunsa Girls School) and performed poetry at a different kind of level. The way they did it really stood out for me and inspired me to pursue the Art with a passion.
I went online and started seeking for anything that could give me direction on this path. I read all about it, and tried to get conversant with it. Along the way, I came across different people that made me completely fall in love with it.
For many artists or creative, when they fall in love with whatever they do, they rarely try to give it purpose or meaning. But in Noisey’s case, it was so important for her to find her ‘Why?’ something she encourages every artist to do.
‘’I needed to find my ‘why?’ Why did I want to do it? Our gifts are meant to spark change and cause an impact, and for me the first time I performed in church and someone told me they had been touched by my piece and encouraged to change something in their life, I had found my why.
Always know your why. When you do not know your why, you undervalue yourself. When you know your why, you will enjoy what you do regardless.
After Finding Your Why, Focus On This:
Invest in your talent/Skill:
I found a community that would help me grow. Then it was the Lantern Meet of Poets .In my senior 6 vacation, I would attend their circles religiously. Here, you shared your work and got feedback. Being in that environment helped me grow. I learnt how to write, express myself, learned different styles of poetry, pricing, expression and many other related skills. Learn to also accept positive criticism because it helps you grow and the better you become, the higher your price.
Get Your Brand and Work Out there:
Let people first know your work before you start asking for a specific amount of money to write or perform. Create those platforms if you are just starting out. Platforms to showcase you so that your ideal audience can know you and then seek your services. Be strategic who you partner with.
Be Bold Enough to Put Your Work Out There:
Sometimes, when I understand that people are looking for poetry related work, I pitch to them. Put out that work the way it is. It does not have to be perfect. Put it out anyway. The beauty about that, is that you will start testing the waters, get feedback and keep perfecting your craft.
Your Art should keep growing and morphing
Be Professional and Authentic:
Be professional right from the get go. If you have been booked to do a show, show up on time, listen, and attend meetings. Just be easy to work with. When you get the opportunity, put your best food forward. Give your best performance each time.
When it comes to authenticity, be you. Do your own thing and embrace it. Don’t seek to sound like other people. Everyone else is already taken. When you find your niche, that thing that makes you shine, go for it. Let your poem resonate with you. If people don’t get it, then you have not communicated.
Some people lose themselves along the way and morph into something they aren’t. Don’t be fake. People will see it. Understand your values.
Pricing Your Art:
I did not earn from poetry for 3 years. I would just show up and do it and sometimes you have to do that to get yourself out there but when it comes to pricing;
Know your Value:
What is that unique thing you bring to the table and what does it take in terms of time and money and give it your best.
Find A Pricing Tier that works for you based on the market you are working in: Could it be a fixed amount or do you have a tier you follow. Carry out your research.
Believe it or not, if you are going to price your Art, you need to have some sort of legal papers or agreements that protect you from being exploited.
Your potential is so huge .Do not limit yourself. Take up challenges.
Remember that we need to be able to work together. It’s not a competition. It should be a partnership. Partnerships propel us to greater heights.