Guest Post: Commercialization Of Poetry.

Like the say a picture is worth a thousand words … That’s true, and I say,  poetry on the other hand,  expresses those a thousand words into to something more tangible, something with an emotion and a feeling to it.

Poetry [poh-i-tree] – The art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure, by beautiful, imaginative or elevated thoughts ~ Unknown Author

Of late, I have found myself attending many Poetry gigs such as Open Mic/Kwani/Wamathai Exclusive or whatever the event organizer decides to call them. It wasn’t my norm before and as I always say I’ve never been poetic..I tried and I failed…lol, but out there, there is talent I must say. Me, who’s not into poems, can stand and actually listen to a poet go ahead and let out his/her thoughts…they must be magical…they are.

So in the process, I happen to be a fan of one poet known as Jemedari. I shall not reveal his real names, I signed a Non-Disclosure. He’s really goood, I mean if you’ve listened to him do his thing, he’s got some bass voice, with the rhythmical  flow of words…I mean he’s a professional poet I must say.

We all want to make a living out of what we are talented in (or what we can do best). I mean if one can turn talent into business, it’s so much fun I wish I could to do what you love doing while at the same time it earns you a living or even just for sustainability purposes. This mainly would apply to performing artistes such as Poets (who seem to be assumed). And this is where this *Commercialization* comes in. Please read the post below, and you’ll understand their sentiments.

The Commercialization Of Poetry


Dear Reader,

As is the norm,I tend to get moments of insight in which I go off and shoot in the dark about some topic that affects artists. For as much as I am an artist, I am also a critic of the arts. I had promised to give an insightful piece on the commercialization of poetry so here goes…

As previously mentioned, many an artist has gotten to the open Mic stages that are constantly expanding the realms of performance arts. However, at the end of the day, we all go home to the same arguments that there is no monetary value in the art… Why??

As is the common trend now, we have all gotten into the “giving” artistic spirit. Few artists who seek to create platforms have organized events in which other artists come in to “support” the venture. I have no problem with the complimentary entrances, the bitings and even the mad “intros” and “shoutouts”.. PAY ME!!

Many are the events that we get invited to, skip the entrance charges “VIP style”, give our all on stage and still go home empty-handed. GET THIS RIGHT! It’s not about money. It’s about SUSTAINABLE GROWTH!

If the said event is making money out of entrance fees, minus the expenses, it is my firm opinion that every artiste be compensated for their efforts in making the event a success.
Before I come out like a greedy poet (both of which I am not), lets attack this logically

Every artist gets into the game to make a name through their poetry, get a few followers and get recognition and a reputation for his/her work. Over time, this “name” becomes a BRAND, the followers grow into a FAN BASE/ SEGMENTED MARKET, the poetry becomes a product, the reputation becomes a BRAND IDENTITY and the recognition becomes WORTH. (Not too shabby, huh??)

CURRENTLY, the brands are getting an expanded segmented market of willing consumers who are constantly becoming brand loyal. This loyalty leads to the increase in demand for the product. Several events are created but the product is limited, monotonous and boring. Why?? Because the BRANDS CANNOT AFFORD TO MAKE NEW PRODUCT! ITS BAD FOR BUSINESS!!!

The artists are making all these efforts yet the money is going to the wrong pockets!! There is demand for audio CDs, books, cards and the occasional performance but what most people do not realize in that all of this is a cost to the artist! So if I was making a loss, would I make an effort to keep new material flowing?

As a business oriented artist, HELL NO! Hence the reason why there are artists who perform the same material over and over again! They do not see the need to take it further!! What is wrong?

  1. Too many events that focus lesson the artists and more on the hype
  2. Too few resources for poetry to look like gainful art
  3. Too many overzealous event organizers who still take advantage of the fact that poets are not business savvy
  4. Lack of business savvy poets

So I guess it’s now in your hands. I may not have covered all the ills but I am determined to make this a topic towards the improvement of the state of affairs. In the next installment of this article, I shall be discussing the way forward.


All feedback is appreciated

By Jemedari.


PS: Feedback is appreciated and *READ BETWEEN THE LINES*


Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*