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  • Makena Onjerika

The Art of Poetry Writing with Ernest Ògúnyẹmí

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Meeting day: Fridays

Time: 5-8pm (Kenyan time)

Start date: 5th February 2021

Online via Zoom

10 sessions over 10 weeks

Cost: US$150 or KES 15000 payable in up to 2 installments via PAYPAL, MPESA, WorldRemit and other


Ernest Ògúnyẹmí is a writer and editor from Nigeria. His works have recently appeared/ are forthcoming in Joyland, Tinderbox, Sierra Nevada Review, Journal Nine, the Indianapolis Review, Down River Road, Capsule Stories, No Tokens, the West Review, the Dark Magazine, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry III, Mud Season Review, Agbowó, Isele, and elsewhere. He is the curator of The Fire That Is Dreamed of: The Young African Poets Anthology. He is the winner of the Miracle Monocle Award for Young Black Writers, second-place winner in the No Tokens Young Poets Prize, and a finalist for the 2020 Dan Veach Prize for Younger Poets.


This class is for beginners as well as for those who have been writing for quite some time. Students will be introduced to the basic tools of poeming, with a particular focus on how to read and understand poetry, and how that can inform the ways that they make their own poems. Every week, the students will be assigned an assortment of poems and essays to read. The students will be required to make at least a poem every week, using certain prompts which will be presented to them. During the workshop, Ernest Ògúnyẹmí will read and give feedback on about 9 poems by each student.


The class is discussion-based. Every week you will receive 7-9 essays and 7-9 poems to read — focused on that week’s topic. The first thirty minutes of each class will entail discussing the previous week’s writing assignment. The rest of the class will constitute a discussion of the reading material with regard to your own writing. Ernest will provide all the reading material for the class.


Topics covered:

  1. How to Read Poetry: Entering a Poem;

  2. The Adhesive Force: Making a Poem;

  3. Writing in Form: Why You Need a Container for Your Poems;

  4. Lineation: Why and How We Break the Line;

  5. Wearing Another Self: The Persona Poem;

  6. Probing Personal History: Writing the Self;

  7. Not Being Silent: Writing Poetry that Bears Witness;

  8. On Submitting, Rejections, and Patience.

To apply for this class, submit between 3 and 5 poems, published or unpublished, to makenaonjerika@gmail.com. The total 5 poems must not exceed 10 pages. Use the subject line "Art of Poetry Writing with Ernest Ògúnyẹmí".


The application deadline for scholarships has passed


Things to Note

  1. You can pay your fee in two installments. The first one must be made before you attend classes and the second within 30 days.

  2. No refund is possible once you attend the first class.

  3. Check that your internet connection can sustain an online class lasting up to 3 hours.



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