She goes by the name Poetess Vionna Wamuyu on Facebook. She is well known for her POE-NUERSHIP posts that sometimes bug like spam, especially if you have switched on news feed email alert on her Facebook group member settings.
Vionna is a poetess, but a different kind of poetry. She has no published works in the mainstream publishing, of course with reasons, and “It’s simply because I want to earn a living from my work.”
So determined is she that she founded POE-NUERSHIP. “Poe- nuership stands for Poetic Entrepreneurship! That is coming up with creative ways to earn a living from this phenomenal talent of Poetry. There is the monthly Poetry show and the framed Poems.”
Despite other creative writers who have had it rough with publishers in Kenya, Vionna is at peace with what she is doing. Kenyan publishers, from personal experience, say that Kenyans don’t read poetry and Vionna agrees with them.
“That is actually very true. Kenyans aren’t readers simply because after you’re done with school, you are scarred for life! But this means I have to come up with simple poems that the average person can embrace. Also am not keen on being published so I decided to come up with poetraits (framed poems) that people can buy and hang in their houses as part of the house décor.”
The poetraits go at around Ksh.1200 on average, but mostly the price depends on the size of the frame you want, custom design and whether a poem would be accompanying.
Online publishing is the way to go according to Vionna who says that most people spend more time online than reading a book. “I have to consider the fact that most people spend more time online than reading a book so I chose to publish my work online.”
“This is the age of internet publishing. Having a blog is must for any writer. Many people across the world spend a lot of time online that’s why I chose to publish my work online and share it on Facebook,” she adds.
Some of the challenges she faces are getting people to embrace poetry in a more adult nature other than what is norm which is the poetry done in drama festivals. Marketing also has given her headaches and sleepless nights as she has had to vigorously advertise her work in order to catch the attention of people.
In the past, we’ve had literary critics say that creative writers (fiction, poetry & drama) in Kenya have taken a backseat on addressing issues in the leadership and integrity arena. Vionna says that compared to the days before multi-party system in Kenya, it’s true that fewer Kenyans are using creative writing to address issues but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing so because more and more people are embracing it albeit lackadaisically but she believes it’s heading in the right direction and will continue to grow.
“Since my business partner and I started our monthly Poetry and Spoken Word show, I have come to learn that there are so many people with immense talents in poetry, music, storytelling, and writing! Kenyans are very, very talented!” she says.
Since she has stood above the woes of mainstream publishing, Vionna has taken to social networking that has proved rewarding to her, but her message to other creative writers is, “Those with talents should keep putting their work out there without quitting believing that it will be embraced. That’s what I am doing!”
Vionna Wamuyu has stood above any budding writer’s whining and now is earning a living from her work. It just needs some initiative and not quitting as she says.
For Vionna’s framed poems go to www.vionawamuyupoetry.kbo.co.ke
Copyright ©Elove Poetry, 2013.