On November 4th 2020 Nyasili Atetwe interviewed Jeruto Hildah on WSA Whatsapp Group
Jeruto Hilda is a poetess, an Education Arts student (English and Literature) at Kabarak University. She loves the beauty of poetry itself for it portrays everything beautifully by using figures of speech; it is everywhere. Her works have been featured in several platforms; Kenyan Anthology of poems 2020 courtesy of Litlight Kenya. It’s also available on Wattpad, YouNoob and WordPress.
She sat with our own chief assistant editor in one of a series of interviews to familiarize the other members with the craft of their colleagues. This was on the 4th of November 2020 between 8-9pm. The interview was conducted as a WhatsApp chat.
NYASILI: Thank you Hildah Jeruto for joining us this evening. Hope you had a good day today
JERUTO: I had a good day
NYASILI: Well well. I have to begin by asking this. Just how did you know WSA K exists?
JERUTO: I knew about it through Faith Chepchumba. She had posted about it on WhatsApp. That is when I became interested and asked her to tell me more about WSA K.
NYASILI: Oooh great!!! Thank you Chepchumba our most able treasurer. Let me again welcome you to the Space. So, now tell us more about Hildah Jeruto.
JERUTO: Thank you so much. Am looking forward to an awesome experience . So far its been good, I must say.
NYASILI: Great. I am happy to hear.
JERUTO: Hilda Jeruto is a strong willed Kalenjin lady. I’m 21 yrs old. A student at Kabarak University pursuing a degree, Bachelor of Education Arts (English and Literature). Also a full-time Christian
NYASILI: Wow, quite a resume there. Impressive!!! What kind of writing do you do? Poetry, prose, scripting?
NYASILI: You are in the right company. There are many poets in WSA per square kilometer
JERUTO: I’m in love with poetry. The way it can change a whole paragraph into a single line. Short and precise.
NYASILI: Okay. I guess you have been writing poetry since day one or ….
JERUTO: Yeah it’s been poetry since day one.
NYASILI: For how long now, putting it down on paper?
JERUTO: 6 yrs , but it was on and off.
NYASILI: You must then be good at it. Apart from shrinking messages into tiny bits and delivering it short and precise. What else does poetry do for you.
JERUTO: It is my lifeline that makes me feel better every time I pen down my thoughts. I believe poetry will make me dine with great writers or rather great people some day.
NYASILI: Do you have a specific subject you dwell on? Like here we have an eco poet called Mishy! We also have a love poet called Mux. A spiritual poet called Benny.
JERUTO: Nah , I don’t have a specific subject. But I once did a series of bleeding heart tales and God is… Like God is great (attributes of God). These days I write whatever subject comes to mind.
NYASILI: What has writing poetry taught you about yourself?
JERUTO: It has made me realize I’m good with words when it comes to writing. But when it comes to talking, it can be rounded off to the nearest nonsense. I mean am more of a writing person not a talking person. I can’t recite what I write.
NYASILI: (laughs heartily) Writing poetry for six years. You must be having a pile somewhere on your table? Have you published some?
JERUTO: I have like 89 poems, a few are on Wattpad. I haven’t published on my own . But i got a chance to publish 5 of my poems in this years anthology of poems courtesy of Litlight Kenya publishers. That was after winning a 15 days poetry prompt.
NYASILI: (shying) Whats WATTPAD? Oh and Congratulations.
JERUTO: It’s a website and app for writers to publish their works if they can’t publish their writings in books. And Thank you.
NYASILI: Great. Who are some of the poets that inspire you? Poets you look up to?
JERUTO: Lisa Marie, Mufasa and Maya Angelo to name a few.
NYASILI: How does being a student of literature help you as a poet?
JERUTO: As a literature student I’d say that poetry serves not only a model of literature but also a model for teaching skills of language such as reading and writing. So the skills I learn from the study of literature enable me to improve me writing skills such as grammar, punctuations and good use of language.
NYASILI: Does studying literature kind of give you a head start?
JERUTO: Yes it does.
NYASILI: How so?
JERUTO: Well, broadly speaking, literature teaches me how to really think. Since we read texts from different literary angles. I’d say it expands my way of thinking on different subjects. The study of literature connects an individual with larger truths and ideas in a society. I mean, it creates a way for someone to record their thoughts and experiences in a way that is accessible to others, through fictionalized accounts of the experience. Once I connect my thoughts, I write so well words just flow with no struggle to fit in rhymes and all the poetic devices.
NYASILI: Interesting. Do you belong to any other such group as WSA-K? Have you belonged to
JERUTO: Am a member of Litlight Kenya, Shamokwale poetry empire and E.M.C.G ( English Mastery Community Group)
NYASILI: What do you think we could do to make our group better. What do you think we can do. To make our group livelier?
JERUTO: I don’t know if you have writing prompts, like monthly then the participants get awards, certificates maybe.
AT THIS POINT THE CHAT WAS OPENED TO THE GROUP MEMBERS TO ASK QUESTIONS. NOTE THAT AT THE EDITOR’S DISCRETION ONLY A SELECT COMMENTS/QUESTIONS FROM THE MEMBERS ARE INCLUDED
MOSES ABUKUTSA: Been following the conversation. I’d like to know what you would consider the role of writers like yourself in the society?
JERUTO: I believe writers are a blend of entertainers and artists (poetry is a work of art according to me). I’d say the role of a writer like me is to entertain, though some writers have a more inflated perception of their role. Speaking truth to the masses, ironically through fiction, is a bit more ambitious than raw entertainment but arguably more helpful, perhaps more responsible use of skill.
MOSES ABUKUTSA: Maybe if you were to address a group of writers anywhere what would be your advice to them.
JERUTO: I’d tell them to never let anyone or anything scare them out of your full potential. For when God brings you to it He’ll definitely bring you through it. Read the best, read a lot. Let writing get into your central nervous system. Be prepared to listen, to yourself and to others. Writing is not straight self-expression, telling the world how you feel; it is a mode of feeling that is created by and sustained within language, so get to love words and the patterns they fall into.
BENNY WANJOHI: Most writers would prefer to be seen as motivators or inspires rather than entertainers. How do you entertain through your poetry?
JERUTO: In writing I bring in imagination n fantasy… it creates an aura between the reader and the writer. You may not feel too deeply about each line but there is a general breeziness to the entire experience.
BENNY WANJOHI: As a Christian and a poet, how do you navigate around the themes that are anti-Christian but are widely accepted by literary communities?
JERUTO: It is hard to navigating between the two, I embrace ambiguity (but not too much); resisting the urge to over tell, over explain, or overwrite.
DOREEN KANAIZA: Talking about reciting poems, don’t you think it’s one thing that has been so much forgotten?
JERUTO: It’s forgotten, many people their days prefer to write and not speak. Many words are left unsaid. Self-doubt and fear of being mocked are some of the reasons.