Shiro is a Kenyan girl who I met at my university. For the longest time, I knew she was East African (we are a minority in our school) and I had had conversations with her but I never thought of her to be so talented. The first time I saw her perform, it was at an open mic and I remember shading a tear while she was on stage. She left not only me but all the audience with no voice.
Not only does Shiro have a powerful voice, her poems are very enlightening and touching. I decided to interview her to know how she discovered her talent and hoping she would share some tips with me. (Yes, I believe I have a hidden talent)
When did you start writing? Writing has always been my thing. My mom encouraged me to keep a diary since I could write. She asked me to keep it beside me while I sleep so I could write down my dreams as soon as I woke up and basically encouraged me to reflect on everything I felt at any point of the day and write it down so I could further reflect on it at a later point as well. Also, I remember in primary school I would write some of the best compositions and inshas (swahili compositions) in my grade. I would also fill my entire exercise books with lyrics from front to back for the fun of it (laugh). But poetry… I must have been around twelve.
What first got you interested in poetry? My first poem was an angry letter to my father. I didn’t mean for him to ever see it though, but I wrote it in my poetry book then posted it on my Facebook notes and got quite a bit of attention for it and I was like well, I guess I could kind of do this huh?! LOL
How does a poem start with you? An image, a situation, a feeling? Pain. I am usually going through something in order to write.
Can you share your first poem? Which one is your favorite? Oh no (laughs), it’s extremely embarrassing. I was an angry twelve-year-old with less than mediocre grammar, haha. My favourite one is one I’m currently working on. It’s different… it’s about someone who has loved me unapologetically and unconditionally. I’ve held back from writing about it for a while now because I never quite felt like I could properly express how abundant this love is. I feared that my words wouldn’t give the love enough credit but I’ve started it and so far so good
Can you write a poem about me? Hahaha. You’d have to hurt me first hahaha!! It is okay Shiro, I still admire you the same way.
If you had one message to share with the world what would it be? Allow yourself to feel. I feel like we refrain ourselves from certain spectrums of emotion, or we pretend to get over things or fail to acknowledge the reason being for certain things and I’ve learned that the best way to be is to allow yourself to feel it all. If it’s pain, feel it until you’re over it… until the next time because there always is a next time with these things haha. Don’t refuse to let emotion flow through you.
What is the weirdest thing people have told you about your art? That based on the way I speak and express I should be the girl who says “M-M-M-Maybach Music” on MMG tracks haha!!!
What emotions do you expect people to have when they listen to your poems? I’m not sure but I think many people relate
What are other hobbies of yours? If you’re not writing you’re… reading, making clothes, watching Gilmore girls, drinking wine and most importantly picking my boyfriend’s nose lol
What are your three weaknesses? I am not patient… at all… like ever and that’s ruined many things for me. I’m not sure if homesickness can be considered a weakness but I crack often and have breakdowns due to being away from Kenya and its authenticity. Thirdly, I always feel the need to mend people and truth be told not everyone can be or wants to be mended you know
Are you spiritual or religious in any way? Does that reflect on what you do (your poems) I was born in the church, was a youth leader at one point or another, went to church twice a week but I haven’t been in years because I feel that religion is very political. I do believe in God, but definitely on more of a spiritual level than a religious one. Spirituality can definitely be a factor to my writing.
Which one is better? A movie or a novel? A novel, hands down. They give you the words to work with but your imagination is mandatory for it to be successful. I like that my mind can play a part in someone else’s world.
Two people that believe in your talent more than you do? My friend Sarah and Farah (coincidentally lol)
What is your favorite genre of music? It’s definitely a tie between hip-hop and soul. My preference was always old school but new music in both genres is definitely on the come up.
Shiro wrote a beautiful and very emotional poem on #BLACKLIVESMATTER that you can check it out here. I hope you now know that if you want to become a poet, all you need to do is to write an angry letter and post it on your facebook page.
Lots of Love
‘Til next time
A million thanks to Shiro for sharing her story. I am the path to becoming a poet myself 🙂 Keep shining beautiful lady!