23 March, 2012

I am Dirty: I Need Washing by Shamsud Ahmed - Book Review & Guest Post



Catchy name isn’t it? I thought so too… Usually, I can guess what a book is about by its title… but in this case I started off blindly as I had no idea about what to expect. 

The book contains 32 poems on different and diverse topics. From simple to complex, from abstract to intense – this one book has it all. Each explores a different avenue of love, life and loss. The title poem, “I am dirty; I need washing” reminds us that nothing is for forever – whether be it good times or the bad ones. “The Tombstone Verse” & “Epistemology” reminds us to live in the moment. My personal favourites are “Loss”, “Back Home” and “I am dirty; I need washing”.

The great thing about poetry is that it is always open to the reader’s interpretation. Everybody learns something different from one single poem. And, so maybe my interpretations of the author’s work may not be what he intended to portray and it may not be what you make out of his work. But one thing I can guarantee is that you can’t help but love his work.


Disclaimer: I received a free ebook from the author for review purpose. Beside that I did not receive any kind of payment or benefit from the author or the publishers for reviewing this book.  

Now for a Guest Post from the Author:


Most common mistakes in Poetry Writing

I am a very new author when it comes to publishing my work and I would not be the right person to discuss Common mistakes in Poetry Writing. However I have worked on some common errors though for new writers.

After I finished writing "I am dirty; I need Washing" the thing I most wanted to do was make it into an actual physical book.  All I wanted was to publish my book and share my work with like-minded people for review. Soon my book got published and went Live in various website and I realized that this is a different world and only way for my readers to know about my work is to let them know about that. That was tough to some extent. My book went "live" and over the next few months I sold 24 copies. I could tell you the name of every one of the 24 buyers too. I knew them all. I worked with them, was friends with them or was related to them in some way. This actually made sense since I wasn't advertising. How would anyone know to buy it if they didn't know it was for sale? Slowly sales picked up and now I am selling few more books. My blog is helping me to reach my readers now and also helping me improve for my next book as this experience would help me create better poems for my readers.

When I wrote the book I wasn't interested in making money off it. Even once I set the price of the book to allow me a tiny royalty I still really didn't imagine wealth beyond the dreams of avarice. I looked at it as a way to finance another book. So now there are many things I want to tell you about publishing too but I would ask my readers to get back to me in case they need some help.

·         The worst one - Rhyming Poetry for no reason. I have seen poets painstakingly trying to rhyme poems. I know poets who rhyme words ready for the next line. It’s like you create a sentence for the words that rhyme and not as something intrinsic to the Poem. We are required to work on the rhythm,
·         No attention to rhythm – Poetry can be rhyming or non-rhyming (free verse), but in either case it should follow a consistent pattern or beat. Amateur poets often set up a meter and then break it, or simply ignore rhythm altogether.
·         Clichés – One of the most wonderful aspects of poetry is the chance to hear objects, feelings and situations described in unique ways. Poems full of overused comparisons like stupid– “Her eyes were as green as the sea,” “My heart beats like a guitar,” “He ran like the whirlpool,” and the like, are seen as unoriginal
·         If you are writing your poems only for yourself I would suggest you keep the poems for yourself. No one cares unless the poem can relate to the reader/s. This is very very important. Your ‘I” and “me” in the poem should be the reader
·         Do not simply write a Poem. There are millions of poems on “Love”, “Betrayal” and many similar subjects. You are required to create uniqueness in your subject and fuel it with genuine emotions which the readers can relate to. I have made similar mistakes in the past and I am learning every day.
·         Preachy propaganda set to rhyme – Writing poetry about the things that you believe in is a good idea. Using poetry as a blunt weapon to hammer your point home to the reader regardless of poetic integrity is not.

·         Poetry should be as precise as possible. Vague simple words like “good,” bad,’ “love,” and “honesty” should be replaced with either exact descriptions of what you mean or more accurate words.  It is very important to use the right language and please not that subjects like ‘LOVE’, “Weather” etc. has been done to death and in case you are planning something to write in this area…try and be very original.

·         Now the most important point. Please go through as many poems as possible. You should be able to differentiate good from the bad. “Wind is cold”, “Night is dark” has many other ways of expressing which puts your work in the category of good poetry. Novice poetry is often full of unrelated images and incoherent thoughts.

·         You can also visit (5 mistakes) to know more about bad poetry.
·       
             Know Poetry well. Start reading and writing all types of Poetry. You can visit here Types of Poetry to know more. 

     Other than in English there are some fine and unique poetries on the web which were translated by some kind writers. Start hunting them. Read them and understand them. Chinese, Japanese, Indian etc. are very rich form of poetry and we can draw inspiration from there.

I hope the above pointers are helpful. I would be more than happy to assist to help anyone who wants to know more on publishing or any other subjects. I am now trying to collaborate with few writers to create a collection of Poems. I am doing this for many reasons. The first and primary reason would be to reach maximum readers which can be reached through various contact and fan base of the readers. I have not used Facebook or any tool to promote my book. The objective of the next collaborative effort would be to bring Poetry to the mass as I think we have a huge audience for good meaning Poetry and with smart approach we can reach our readers. Anyone who is willing to collaborate can reach me at mysticverse@yahoo.in . I would not guarantee lot of profit but I can promise a wonderful experience. Secondly my objective is to create a series of poetry book with the same name and a new theme. I am open for any ideas from your end.

Cheers and Keep Winning,
Shamsud Ahmed

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