Featured Poet: Claude Mumbere

Claude is a freshman at St. Lawrence, considering going into communications. He is a member of the men’s varsity soccer team, and the African Student Union. He aspires to make use of his voice in whichever career path he traverses.

Claude’s reading : The first poem is She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron. The second is Harlem by Langston Hughes

Q: What made you want to start writing? When did you begin?
A: I spent my elementary and some middle school in the D.R Congo and the curriculum involved a rather extensive emphasis  on literature and more specifically fables and poetry. What was different about it is that we spent most of the time verbally analyzing and annotating the poems and fables through memorization, singing, and even creating dances that went along with the pieces. But after moving to the U.S eight years ago, I lost touch with poetry and didn’t reconnect with it until only about 3 years ago. It was until then that I had begun again reading and reciting loads of poetry and didn’t necessarily  write originals until the summer of my junior year in high school.

Q: How do you write? In a notebook? On a computer? In a special place?
A: I have always found it easier to write with my hands. I’ll  write on paper, or napkin, or a cardboard, or sometimes even a wall. There’s a certain degree of connection between the words being drawn on paper and the hand creating them that seems to lack when one simply punches buttons on a keyboard and pastes virtual letters on virtual a paper. But that’s just me.

Q: Who are the poets who most inspire you?
A:  There’s one man and one man only, Langston Hughes. His simplistic words pack the punch of a jackhammer.

Q: Do you have a favorite poem/s written by other poet? What is in that poem/s that you like the most?
A:  One of my favorite poems by Hughes is Harlem. Though barely containing 2 stanzas, the poem portrays a complex subject with infinite interpretation. He’s able to confine content of grandiose proportions into this minute container of intellect.

Q: Do you have a favorite poem written by you? What is in that poem/s that you like the most?
A:  Of the poems I’ve written, the most memorable are those I’ve written for friends or for girls I’ve shown to have emotional interest in. One that sticks out was for a girl whom I was very sexually attracted to but hadn’t the nerve to verbalize it so I wrote a short anonymous prose expressing my strong sexual desires towards her and snuck it in her jacket. Sometimes those free, solo, anonymous poems are the best. They take a life of their own and journeys to whom ever may find them.

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