1000 poems in a year update |what i’m reading and writing in the holidays

Amara Amaryah | travel + books + poetry. a platform for story-telling, visuals, positive self-talk and empowerment.| what I’m reading and writing in the holidays.

hello loves.

it’s the final days until christmas and i’ve been off work since 12.31pm thursday 19 december. so far it has been a beautiful few days of doing as i want alarm-free and hiding in my apartment. or meeting up with friends. absolutely no in between. socialising or hibernating. i’m now heading home for a few days which in my books means a chance to read and write what i want guilt free. you can catch me reading stories or writing stories during the holiday season. as always i’m bringing you in to see what i’m reading and writing to give you ideas too.

what I'm reading 
books
what i’m reading + fake hand model.

what i’m writing

as we don’t really celebrate Christmas in my house, the holiday season is a time to give thanks for family, enjoy good food and spend time being together. i also use it as a time to read uninterrupted. and catch up on poems. in january i set myself the challenge of writing 1000 poems in a year. i’ve kept quiet about it but i have actually been consistently writing. as of today i am on poem 700/1000. which means i have just over 5 weeks to write 300 poems…

i can do it. it will take a several quiet mornings, a few series poems, (a good few short cheeky haikus) but i am sure that by the end of january i’ll be happy with the result. a massive part of my poetry practice and development is about experimenting with form. writing 1000 poems literally gives you a 1000 opportunities to do so. 

during the holidays here are some forms that i will play with: 

  • prose poems
  • another specular poem (i’ve done one successfully and i have another idea i hope to give life to)
  • golden shovel
  • poems in response (i have a few poems i want to speak/respond to)

what i’m reading 

queen
what i'm reading

through 2019 i haven’t read as many fiction books as i’d like. i really prioritised poetry books as my go-to reading this year (makes sense). i guess since reading ‘freshwater’ whilst in jamaica (book of the year for me, i adore awkaeke emezi’s storytelling) i realised how much i missed reading make believe. so. as recommended by hawwa (new trusty travel buddy who now boasts the promoted position of chief book-recommender) i’m reading another fictional book written by a black woman. i’m going to be sat by the window drinking my tea, with my candle and my incense and my borrowed ‘queenie’ by candice carty-williams. i haven’t read a single review and know nothing about the story except for hawwa’s reaction whilst she was reading it : ‘the protagonist irritates me a lot but i like her’. i can’t wait to read it for myself.

i’m reading some non-fiction too. ‘sacred drums of liberation’ by don c. ohadike, borrowed form the library days after attending a black history month event about the journey of the west african drum. i’ve been reading this since october and i’m happily taking my time with it. i read the chapter on jamaica, reggae, rastafari and resistance whilst in jamaica and it was a powerful reminder. currently picking it up as i please, finishing off a chapter on brazilian capoeira. i recommend reading into it, brummies borrow it from the library when i’ve returned it.

what I'm reading
books

poetry reads

obviously not completely coming off the crack. poetry books will forever be tossed in my bag for lunch time reading or train rides. i’ve carefully selected the three books i am taking home for reading and i’m not buying any more. i need to actually stop cheating on the poetry books at home. i also need to actually write my own book lol. i need to not rush my way through books and end 2019 appreciating what i’m reading. although, i am looking to jump on amina jama’s new collection ‘a warning to the house that holds me’ and bad betty presses shots (a collection of 4 fabulous pamphlets) are very attractive. but i’m disciplined so I’ve got something for 2020.

javier fernandez
hanan issa

i’m looking forward to reading this amazing collection ‘my body can house two hearts’ by hanan issa. at adrian’s launch i told myself that i was budgeting and could only buy adrian’s collection 5000 hurts. ended up buying all three collections from the launch night. issa’s performance style and content had me convinced within the first poem. first few poems in and i’m in love/ rereading poems over again.

Derek walcott
Tiepolo's hound
what I'm reading

i borrowed this collection from the library because i love caribbean poetry and i unfortunately don’t own any of my own. maybe a genuine reason to shop and adorn my book shelf. maybe. either way i’m reading derek walcott during the holidays because derek walcott. 

‘tiepolo’s hound’ seemed quite hard to get into compared to previous work by walcott that i’ve enjoyed since undergraduate. it is an epic and i’m going to stick with it because i’m a big girl and i have loads to learn from walcott’s style and borrowing form myth and classical writing. 

final poetry collection is by a talented poet, editor and friend from cordoba. i’m reading javier fernandez’s renowned collection ‘canal’. a beautiful collection that I learnt about first-hand over lunches at the cosmopoetica festival. ‘canal’ is written in the form of a narrow canal on the page, there are 60 poems (javier read me poem 61 which broke and mended my heart at once). [trigger warning: death/drowning] ‘canal’ tells the story of javier’s brother drowning in the canal and the continued narrative from that tragic loss. it is written in spanish and so is helping me with my fluency goals. javier’s writing is quite literal rather than metaphorical or symbolic so it is good for me. if anything it is expanding my vocabulary.

it is so nice to know that what i’m reading links in to the places i’ve travelled to and the friends i’ve made. 2019 was good for that. 

and that is what i’m reading and writing during the holiday season. i hope you’ve enjoyed and found some inspiration of things to read and write. what are you reading or writing? share in the comments below for us all.

thanks for reading what i write. Yah bless.

Amara Amaryah

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