Meet the Poet: Jude Itakali

Welcome to Meet the Poet, a Word Craft Poetry feature written to introduce you to the poets in our writing community. This post is also part of Jude’s Blog Tour for his new release, “Broken Ties.”

This is a way to get to know more about the poets and their work. Many of our poets have written both fiction and non-fiction and published and self-published their works.

Some of our poets are also artists, crafting their magic through watercolors or other artistic means along with the written word. There are even a few musicians in our poetic community!

At least once a month, I’ll be introducing you to the poets in our community! Grab a cup of tea or coffee, and meet the poet!


For the blog tour: Jude is giving away PDF/ePub copies of “Broken Ties” and “Crossroads” to three of the most regular participants in the comments section of the tour posts. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win a copy of these books!

Our guest today is Jude Itakali.

Jude Itakali is a poet, writer and fiction author from the suburbs of Kampala, Uganda.

Itakali never liked sharing his books as a child. That has changed, especially since he started writing his own.

A lifelong obsession with ‘the good story’ evoked his personal phrase, “Reality is all around us, but fantasy is a part of us.” Egged on by a conniving appetite to consume works across genres, Itakali crafts the compelling themes and rounded characters in his books.

When not ‘life-ing’ or pursuing infrequent exercise routines, you can find Itakali writing fiction in a small cubicle, or under a tree, furnishing his website, Tales told different, with life epiphanies, ponderous prose, and poetry.

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk poetry and for helping me promote my new release, “Broken Ties,” the second book in the Realms of the Mist Series.

👩🏻‍🦳 You’re welcome, Jude. The unicorn cats (🐈 Chloe & 🐈‍⬛ Sophie) are happy to see you brought a friend.

They’ve worked hard on the covers of my books, so I had to do something nice for them too.

👩🏻‍🦳 Jude, how important is the accessibility of your poem’s meaning? Should one have to work hard to “solve” the poem?

Okay, I’ve been consciously writing poetry for about four years now. The accessibility has become an ever changing dynamic. When I started and was writing freeverse, it was all about impressing the reader with a simple message told in sparkling language.

As I discovered syllabic poetry, I learnt to fluff away some unnecessary words to make each word count. When I got used to joining syllabic and freeverse, it became about balance. While using these two I’m easily able to let the reader solve the poem for depth as well as derive a more direct meaning.

So the answer would be; I want my poems to have an easy and a deeper personal meaning for readers in more than one situation. If it is for lovers, there’ll be a few lines for those who have not been lucky to find love, and those lines will be appreciated perhaps only by them. I hope I’m making sense.

👩🏻‍🦳 So you’re saying that you’ve learned to layer your meaning. I also like the creativity of writing syllabic and freestyle poetry together and making it all connect in unexpected ways.

Yes, that’s exactly where I was headed.

👩🏻‍🦳 Jude, please share one of your favorite poems you’ve written. Explain the syllabic form you used, and why this piece (or form) speaks to you.

I mentioned in my answer to the first question, how juxtaposing syllabic forms with freeverse has boundless possibilities, but sometimes you have a message that is meant for only syllables. This Etheree is an extract from my book CROSSROADS (Winds of Love).

Moving On (An Etheree)

Like light wind rustling through decadent leaves

You sift the dregs of sour memory

Searching for where it all went wrong

For when your heartbeat wavered

Its rhythm changed forever

Faultless to faltered

Innocence gone

Fear moved in




Why so stuck

Why not move on

When the sunrise comes

To spray lush golden dreams

And sprinkle hope’s virgin bliss

Why must you pine for what is lost

When what is needed lies round the bend

If you but move; If you but take a look

© Jude Itakali

An Etheree has a syllable count of 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10. I like to use Etheree when I want the message in the poem to trickle down to a single word/thought (which is a reverse Etheree), or to bloom from one word and expand to a final sentence (like an epiphany).

In this extract, I used a mirrored Etheree (10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10) so I could create the journey from despair to hope.

👩🏻‍🦳 Has your idea of what poetry is, changed since you began writing syllabic poems?

Yes, syllables are concentrated and potent. If done well, syllabic poetry produces a “wow” effect. I enjoy reading them and honestly cannot say I have a favorite form. I have learned to use about ten favorite forms to serve different purposes in my poems.

Sometimes, when inspiration is low, I can begin a syllabic form, like a shadorma which is my go-to for romance poetry. As I struggle to adhere to syllable counts, I get a potent line, or word, or thought. Then I end up writing a whole free verse poem based on that concept. Alas, I don’t credit the creative process that started with a shadorma, but maybe I should begin doing so (in blog posts at least).

👩🏻‍🦳 Jude, tell us a bit about the second book in your series, Realms of the Mist, called Broken Ties.

This book is on Pre-order and will publish May 17, 2023.


Kamau from a tribe of death, Ninuwe from the lovers of Femi, and Kena, an elemental, are bound by the trials of their recent past, and forced onto a dark and magical quest through the Gifted realms of Africa. They must assemble the God-killer, an ancient weapon that can destroy the Evil One. The problem is; the Evil One has irreversibly merged with Kamau’s once closest and only friend, Irina.

War is brewing. Monsters are slipping into the greater human world. Gods are toying with them. The mission demands sacrifices that seem too costly to pay, yet they must also navigate a desperate love triangle, the personal ambitions of young adults, and tribes with unorthodox customs.

As allies blur with enemies Will Kamau and his friends find the strength to sacrifice anything, and do whatever it takes?

Can they give up all that they hold dear, to save people they barely know?

Read the first book in the series on Kindle Unlimited! Find this book on Amazon

Connect with Jude Itakali


Thanks for stopping by to meet Jude. See you next time, for another opportunity to Meet the Poet!

Published by Colleen M. Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry. Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch. In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books. Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

112 thoughts on “Meet the Poet: Jude Itakali

      1. Thank you so much, Marje. I’m happy to see you here. I officially invite you to the final 3days of the tour. So you can’t say no 🤓
        And no, I’m not guilty for guilt tripping you into joining the tour 😅💜💜🪻🌻

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Great interview, Colleen and Jude 🙂 I loved the poem you shared. I agree that learning syllbalic taught me to make each word count. Congrats on your latest, it was a story I throughly enjoyed!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Heya Colleen. It’s so good to talk about poetry at this stage in the tour. It’s like a mini break and refreshing. I just love your tour image of the cat. 💜💖🌷

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh how I wish! But you know shipping and Africa. It has to be something expensive to make sense of shipping it. It gets cheaper though,so in the future definitely.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gwen. Jude’s series is really good. I especially like the growth in the characters. It’s fantasy and coming of age all wrapped up in a unique setting.


  3. Shadorma is my go-to form as well–always a good place to begin. I really like the way Jude combines not only different forms of poetry, but prose pieces as well, on his blog. It really enlarges the emotions and ideas. Also he always finds very good art to illustrate them! (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, Kerfe. Because of Jude, I started experimenting more with the forms, as well. I like how the syllabic poetry can emphasize points and steer in other directions. The shadorma is a favorite, for sure!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you so much, Kerfe. It means a lot that you appreciate. Hehe, seeing as I clumsily titled the website tales told different, I gotta be creative to try and live up to that.😅

      Liked by 2 people

  4. What an interesting discussion about Jude’s changing focus as a poet and how syllabic poetry has played a part. I couldn’t agree more with how the limited syllables encourages us to be precise in our choices of words and sounds. I’ve always enjoyed Jude’s poetry – all his poetry. Great interview!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Diana. I’m glad you appreciate this. Still so much to learn. Probably next year, I’ll begin actively practicing with iambic meters and forms. 🙏🏾🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wonderful interview! I enjoyed learning more about Jude and his poetry and fiction, and also a bit about his writing process.
    I’ve had that same experience in sometimes sticking to a syllabic form and at other feeling constrained, but having it lead to a different poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jude and Colleen,

    What a wonderful way to work together and support each other.
    Continue success to you both. I am please to count you both as my friends! ~

    Liked by 2 people

      1. One of these days I’ll just have to send you some photos… in an email (postcards) 🙂

        Hope your postal system revives. Not everything can be done over the net – can it?
        Or is it all private delivery?

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I know and it’s on my list to read but I’ve failed miserably with my book coming out. I’m dumbfounded by his great gifts and tour and taking notes.
        It’s fun to celebrate him! 💗

        Liked by 1 person

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