#poetry, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

REMEMBER THE GOOD…

Hello! It has been so long. Over a month in fact. I hope you’re all good. I won’t lie, the last month and a bit has been quite overwhelming between work and home and living. I’m sat in the office finalizing several things for a conference and it’s late. It’s been raining all day and both my mood and anxiety are ticking over towards a kind of doom and gloom that matches the torrential rain and grey skies outside.

For whatever reason, my mind has decided that today is not A Good Day. But that’s okay. I’ve spent most of my day at my desk attempting to breathe easy and although it doesn’t feel so great, I’m reminded of a phrase I wrote a while back in an old poem. It is about goodness, about gratefulness and about those moments like today when you’re fighting to breath easy.

Remember the good. Remember strength.
Remember that hope does not diminish
even when it feels absent.

This is currently my creed. I’m hoping for a better, easier month than the one I’ve had. And in case these words might resonate with you, I offer them up for the moment. Be kind to yourself this month.

#poetry, blog, Projects

THE READINGS…

Art: Lola Betiku (Labet.Makes.Art.)

Sharing something a little different today! So, a writing group I’m part of has been working on an audio project for the past few months and finally…we’ve gone live! Being part of a collective of like-minded people is such a brilliant opportunity to learn, grow, and stretch yourself as a creative. And my fellow writers and creatives in the Oqique Collective are excellent at providing exactly the kind of environment in which you can grow, learn and stretch yourself.

The Readings, our first project of this year, is a collection of short audio stories. And they are now available across all platforms!

Check out my story ‘Memory’ here on spotify and listen in to the other stories available from Oqique Collective!

#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

Musings and An Old Offering!

Hello! I hope your NaPoWriMo is going wonderfully so far! Between work, several ‘secret’ projects, and attempting to be a normal, functioning adult, I have to say my writing has been a little hit and miss over the past week or so. I did however, come across an old thing I wrote a while back and so…here! Old but gold?*

*Not really, but I did enjoy writing it! It was part of an old challenge from my writing group. Feel free to try your own hand at a poem or free write with the prompt below!

PROMPT: EXPLORATION

You look like you’ve never braved this road before;
the fear hammering your chest seeps through and I see it,
in the tremor of your hands and the quiver
in your voice when you ask, “Here?”

Not every path is made for your feet to tread
is what you mean to say with your “Here?”

But yes. Here. This is where all knowing of self begins.
So for love’s sake, mean it when you take your first step…here. 
Let no one explain to you how it is done.
They will only sing about their escapades and really,
what good is a troubadour when your path
might just break the legs right out from under you?

No, this is one you stumble through– mostly alone.
Head high so the doubt is only visible to those
who place worth enough on your struggle to look you in the eye.

Head up because the ones pointing at your shaking legs
and faltering feet will never earn the right to your gaze. 
Head up. Walk. Someday, ages and ages from now
when you brave yet another unbroken road,
this journey will make all the difference. 

Thank you for taking the time to read! Good luck with your writing for the rest of the month, poetically minded friends!

#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

IT’S NATIONAL POETRY WRITING MONTH!

Copyright: NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo anyone? It’s national poetry writing month and I can’t say how excited I am for this! A month where we celebrate poetry, write poetry, live poetry, breath poetry?!

Okay, so maybe that’s a little excessive but seriously, this month is a great opportunity to dive into a collection, pick up a pen or maybe drop in on a poetry reading or spoken word night. However you want to go about it, try and have a little bit more of it in your life this month.

I’m definitely trying. I’ve actually spent the past month or so finding some new podcasts and I came across this particular podcast in my searches. And what a treat it is! The Poet Salon is a podcast where poets talk over drinks prepared especially for them. It’s insightful, funny, and completely engrossing — and gives you the chance to get to know more about some of the best up and coming poets out there right now!

It’s also an incredible learning tool. The first few minutes of the podcast feature a quick Q&A where the hosts answer questions from their listeners and many of these questions are around how to navigate getting your work published, advice on writing, structure, form, etc. It’s wonderful! I have to say though, since I’ve listened to all of the episodes they have up so far, the Rick Barot episode has a fantastic amount of advice, information, and is really a must-listen!

So, as you go through this month, I’d like to gently point you in the direction of The Poet Salon. Listen for entertainment but also for an excellent learning tool and for encouragement with your writing. For my part, I’ll be talking part in a month-long writing circle with a few poetically minded friends. We’ll be sharing prompts every day in a bid to write something new each day for the whole month (gulp!). So…if some of it is good, you may see it. Heck, even if it’s bad…you may see it here!

Happy #NaPoWriMo my poetically minded friends!

#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

What I’m Reading and Where I’ve Been…

Hello! It’s been such a long while since I was here. Almost three months…phew. The end and start of the year is always a tough one for me, so I tend to disappear into a blanket fort with books and chocolate aplenty close to hand. For that reason, things have been quiet –although the buying of books, and the reading of poetry has not diminished!

It’s the start of another month and this one brings with it something old and something new to dive into. I’m looking forward to reading some new collections I have bought and been gifted with over the last few months! Especially this glorious collection by one of my favourite poets and performers! Nafeesa Hamid’s Besharam. is out now and available to order! Highly recommended…

So, friends…I might be a little late to the party (this is nothing new, I’m *always* late!) but I’m eager to see what this year brings. What words will have me scrabbling for my stickynotes so I can pin them to the wall; what new and amazing poets and poems will come my way. And more importantly, how many more of you I get to talk to and with about my love of this wonderful art form!

Stay awesome,

Rehema.

#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

In Honour of Poet and Playwright Ntozake Shange:

i found god in myself quote

A couple of weeks ago, the world of poetry lost one of its heroes. Ntozake Shange, an American playwright and poet who addressed issues relating to race and feminism and a voice that will forever be unforgettable, gave us one of the most visceral and heart-wrenching collections of poetry I’ve ever read. For Colored Girls (who have considered suicide /when the rainbow is enuf ) has in turn inspired countless other writers, particularly of colour, and set the bar for what you can do with this art form.

I was first introduced to her work through the highly-acclaimed (and somewhat unexpected?) Tyler Perry film (For Colored Girls) by a dear friend and it is still, to date, one of the most disturbing but necessary films I have ever watched; and a sincerely loved collection which now sits at the top of my TBR pile once again.

For Colored Girls was Ntozake Shange’s first work and she premiered it to high acclaim as a theater piece, though it has now been widely shown both on stage and on the screen.

A bold, heart-breaking, humorous, and thoroughly human and unapologetic exploration of black womanhood and feminism in general, there is not a single part of this collection that doesn’t touch you in some way. I still to this day have moments where I flash back to that scene in the film (seriously, watch the film!), smile at my favourite line (I found God in myself/ and I loved her fiercely–read the collection!) and laugh when I remember the dancing in the play (if you ever get a chance to see it staged! DO!).

All this to say, Ntozake Shange changed the game for many and her presence will surely continue to be felt. Rest in peace, Ms. Ntozake Shange. You articulated so much that had been unsaid for so many and we can only thank you for your words.

Ntozake Shange
Photo: Frank Stewart.

#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

‘Everyday Something Has Tried to Kill Me…’

 

 

black woman 3It’s Black History Month in the UK! A month to celebrate, educate, uphold and cheer on the fact that black lives and black history matters. This whole month, many are celebrating all things about black history and I couldn’t let the chance pass me by to share some of my favourite poems from black men and women! This particular poem by Lucille Clifton felt, to me, like a wonderful place to start.

Won’t you celebrate with me
Lucille Clifton

Won’t you celebrate with me 
what i have shaped
into 
a kind of life?
I had no model.
B
orn in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
I made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding
tight my other hand;
come celebrate 
with me
that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed. 

As a black woman in the UK and a black immigrant, this poem is one of my favourites to reach for again and again. It is a declaration. A celebration. An acknowledgement that despite of everything black men and women face in their lives every day, they are living and thriving and we should absolutely shout to the rooftops for that.

Happy #BlackHistoryMonth, friends.

#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

Love After Love ~Derek Walcott

amazing-animal-beautiful-beautifullToday is World Suicide Prevention Day and a day to raise awareness on this issue. Whilst there are many poets and poems that have addressed this issue, I came across Derek Walcott’s Love After Love and was struck by how much hope it spoke — at least to me. The message and idea that this too shall or may pass, that somewhere down the line, it is possible to reach a place where one can see life with a better lens.

This aside, mental health and well-being is so, so important. If you feel you are not in a good place and aren’t coping, please reach out to someone or if you can’t talk to anyone in your life, please contact the NHS, or Samaritan helpline, or the national suicide prevention line for free 24/7 confidential support and help. You are loved, and are wanted. You matter and are important.

Love After Love 

The time will come when, 
with elation you will greet yourself
arriving at your own door,

in your own mirror and each will smile
at the other’s welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger
who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread.
Give back your heart to itself,
to the stranger who has loved you
All your life…
Who knows you by heart.*

*NB: I have shortened the poem and made slight edits as this is how I read it. To read the poem in full, please check it out on Poem Hunter here, and you can listen to a reading by Tom Hiddleston here.

#poetry, blog, DailyFix, poemoftheday, musings,

Me and Ocean Vuong ~Night Sky With Exit Wounds.

81CkeOJUU+LSeveral months ago, a lovely collection came through the post for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect — although it goes without saying that the T. S. Elliot prizewinning poet is more than just talented at this word thing. But as I’ve revisited this collection over and over again in the past few months, I cannot express how much it has spoken to and reached places in me that I wasn’t expecting.

Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds has been reviewed far and wide by far more qualified people than me so I really feel there’s little I could add to what has been said, other than to say…

IMG_20180904_204135

This collection of poetry grips the heart with a firm grasp and leads you, with a gentleness that’s all the more noticeable because of the skill employed, into a place where all of your heart is invested. I also highly recommend listening to the author read some of his poetry. It is worth every penny and more besides (buy one for a friend!) and it’s truly something special.

IMG_20180904_204215

Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong is out now and available to order. Find out more about the poet here.