Interview with the Award-Winning Nigerian Poet, Oki Kehinde Julius by Indunil Madhusankha

A Short Biography of Oki Kehinde Julius

Oki Kehinde Julius is a renowned and prolific writer who hails from Okitipupa in Ondo-state, Nigeria. He is currently an undergraduate engineering student and a Christian by faith. Okilux, by poetic name is a spoken word artist who has won laurels in both spoken slam and page poetry. He won the award, The Most Influential Best Poet of The Year 2015 from the Paragon Poetry Contest. Also, in 2015, he was inducted into the Community of Thought and Society and he was awarded the title of Writer II of the League. His works have been featured in both local, national and international magazines. He was shortlisted by the Black Pride Magazine among the top 30 page poets who rocked 2015, and was also commended by the Tuck Magazine as one of its contributors who rocked 2015 with poetry and fiction. He is currently holding the positions of Writer 1/ Media Officer at Chrysolite Writers Team and Moderator of Literary Planet Poetry.

 

IM: Indunil Madhusankha

OKJ: Oki Kehinde Julius

 

IM: How would you like to describe yourself in a few words?

OKJ: I am Oki Kehinde Julius, a Nigerian writer and a brother to Jesus.

IM: I first went through your poem entitled, I Will Report 2015 to 2016 which recently appeared in the Tuck Magazine. It is an authentic reflection of your acute remonstrating against some injustices that transpired during the year 2015. What do you think should be the role of a poet in building a world free from such injustices as the ones portrayed in this poem?

OKJ: I will Report 2015 to 2016 is a poem that was inspired by a nightmare. It warns 2016 never to walk through the way that 2015 took, and was written in the wake of the ugly insurgency and blood shedding that engulf my nation, Nigeria. Every poet finds the pen as a sword to fight injustice. Even though a poet is not going to utter a word, his written work must be a strong protest against immorality. Poets are like clergy men preaching, and they are also like activists voicing for the voiceless.

IM: Also, I like the evocative and appealing imagery couched in the poems, Syndication featured in AsaPlaNET and Poorvertied that appears in the CWAN website. How do you get the inspiration to create such powerful mind pictures?

OKJ: Let me first start with Poorvertied. Our people are wallowing and swimming in the pool of abject poverty. Surviving means taking only one meal per day for some people. What are the causes, effects and solutions for these issues? All these are explored in the poem, Poorvertied. Then, Syndication is a poem that is gusting the basket never to play with the rain. It talks about human associations and why people must fraternize with other classes. I was inspired one day, when I saw a dog climbing a goat. Surprisingly, this made my pen to bleed its ink for Syndication.

IM: Will you be able to name a few of your favourite pieces out of all the poems that you have written so far?

OKJ: All my poems are my favourite because I didn’t stole any. My best is yet to come, they are on their way coming. Among the ones that have already arrived are Where Are The gods, Poorvertied, Abobaku, Devil The Priest Of The Altar, Formal Nigeria, Fraternity, Keep The Pen Dancing, Ojelu and a host of others which are perhaps far better than all these.

IM: I am curious to know about your experience in your achievement of the award of The Most Influential Best Poet of the Year 2015 at a competition organized by the Paragon Poetry Contest and your subsequent induction into the Community of Thought and Society thus becoming the Writer II of the League.

OKJ: Winning the Paragon Poet Of The Year award in 2015 added another feather to my wings. I think that I am not the best among the contestants and I don’t even deserve the award. It was all God’s grace, that’s why I’ve dedicated the medal to Him. Community of Thought and Society had been watching me for long, I didn’t know. Sometimes when you’re doing something, you don’t know that people are watching you. It was in mid-September last year that I was messaged on my phone saying that they had finally made it known to the world that they had found me cleared of all conditions which were quintessential for induction into their league. At first, I thought it was a scammer, but to God be the glory, the truth prevailed and I was inducted into the community and awarded the title, the Writer II of the League.

IM: You are an undergraduate student involved in the field of engineering. As a student of science, what kind of a conflict do you observe between physical sciences and literary arts?

OKJ: Literature seems to be wrestling with physical sciences. Assemble 100 poets, and 75 out of them will be science students. I’m also one of them. Well, an engineering student remains an engineer, even if he/she is a god/goddess of poetry. Also, literature seems to have made many writers who are academically or professionally involved in the science field to regret their choice to be in science departments. This happens because literature is the mirror of life.

IM: Are there any poets or mentors who teach you how to write and influence your writing?

OKJ: Fat No! I don’t have a mentor in poetry. No one on earth teaches me how to write poems. I spent my secondary education days in the Chemistry laboratory. I don’t have a tutor or friend who influences me into poetry. It is a divine agenda, and surprisingly poetry was once what I hated the most among all other genres of literature. Even though I don’t have a mentor, I am happy that I have friends like Aremu Adebisi, Sam Ayoade, Deacon Adigun, Wale Ayinla, KIS, Veronica, George Shakesword, Graciano, Micheal Ace, Rex Mayor, Tukor, Solutionist, Enitan, Davydov and a lot of other budding poets all of whom cannot be mentioned here.

IM: How do you choose themes for your poems and what kinds of subject matters compel you the most?

OKJ: I choose themes for my poems according to the messages that I want to convey. I’m very careful with the themes that I choose for my pieces, because it is mostly the theme that cajoles the readers into going through my work. Also, I very much love to write poems dealing with protests and social criticisms.

IM: I have seen some writers having fanatical interests in their own religions? Are you also a religious extremist like that?

OKJ: Fat no! I hate fanatics. Despite the fact that I’m a Christian, I do tolerate other people’s religions, beliefs and views too. As proof, on January this year, I collaborated with a Muslim poet from India, namely Awwal Karrem and wrote a peaceful poem on the theme of religions titled, We Worship One God. The UN saw this, and they sent us an accolade. I’m a lover of different cultures and a friend of every religion. I hate fanatics. Because fanatics are no better than lunatics.

IM: As a student, how do you find the time for your literary career amidst many academic obligations?

OKJ: In spite of my tight academic schedule, I crave to find the time to write. I can write anywhere, even in the toilet. I do write in the classroom. Even during lectures, if the muse arrives, I begin to think before the lecture ends, and I put it down. Further, I do write even in the middle of the night, if inspiration happens to come. That’s why you will always find a paper and a book on my bed as my second pillow.

IM: Do you write regularly according to a plan, or is it just when the thoughts come to your mind?

OKJ: No! I don’t write regularly. A prophet does not prophesy every time. I work with inspiration and muse. I don’t write based on a special plan to meet an ultimatum. I write when a strange thought creeps into my heart. Writing poems and having them published every day will only make a poet lose his/ her value and his/her work will eventually become a common commodity. I don’t have joy in writing a huge numbers of poems. Even if it is just five poems, I can write them over the period of a whole month. My greatest joy is that my poems are able to convey a message that will correct our morally depleted society.

IM: I heard that you are currently working on your first book. Would you like to share something about that?

OKJ: Laugh! How did you know this? Actually there are two books, not one, namely Side of a Coin and Fraternity. The first one, Side Of A Coin is a book which tells the world that success cannot be attained only through education, but through hard work and perseverance as well. The other one, Fraternity is a book that warns the basket never to make friends with the rain because its perforated body is not capable of holding water. In a nutshell, this book deals with human associations. Let me stop here sir, my publisher is already staring at me.

IM: Some people say that rhyming poetry is a dying art. Do you agree with this statement?

OKJ: Rhyming poetry is not sick to the extent of dying. It depends on individual choice. Some people love free verse, while others love rhymes. As for me, seventy percent of my poems are rhymed ones. I love rhymed poems because they have a good musical effect when they are recited. Readers too love reading rhymed poems, because their recitals sound like rap music which is a very popular genre of entertainment. So, I think that rhyming poetry has not faced with extinction yet. It is still breathing.

IM: As you know, there are hundreds of literary e-zines and e-journals spread across the internet. What do you think about this new trend in the publishing industry as opposed to the traditional print form?

OKJ: I think that all the twenty first century writers need to give a big round of applause to the web publishing formats. If it not for them, how can our work go throughout the world? They’ve moulded many poets into shape, which includes me, the very person who is talking right now. I want to use this opportunity to appreciate all the big brains behind internet publications.

IM: Finally, what inspirational message would you like to convey to the budding writers as a well-received young poet?

OKJ: I would love to advice the emerging poets to keep their eyes on their own watch and never to imitate anyone. Do not imitate anybody for the best you get, because the moment you do that, you are just a number two. Criticism will come. Open your door for that. Jesus Christ too was not accepted by all. So, you should also know that, not everybody will love your work. You should keep on writing. Also, you should portray in your lifestyle, the messages and sermons that you need to preach through your poems. And, at the end of the day, your name will surely be written in gold.

IM: I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Oki Kehinde Julius for your valuable time and the interesting information shared. I wish you the best of luck for your writing career.

I am indeed lifted up by this wonderful opportunity given to me. Even if this is not an award plaque, I know this is another feather added to my wings. A Big Thank You, Sir!

 

First published in the March, 2016 Issue of Scarlet Leaf Review, and subsequently in the Issue 1 (Easter, 2016) of Parousia Christian Magazine and also in the Tuck Magazine on 18th April 2016

http://www.scarletleafreview.com/essays–interviews/indunil-madhusankha-interview-with-the-award-winning-nigerian-poet-oki-kehinde-julius

https://parousiamagazine.com/2016/05/16/interview-with-the-award-winning-nigerian-poet-oki-kehinde-julius-by-indunil-madhusankha/

http://tuckmagazine.com/2016/04/18/interview-award-winning-nigerian-poet-oki-kehinde-julius/

 

Exploring the Poetics in the Eyes of a Young Nigerian Poet: An Interview with Ogana David Okpah by Indunil Madhusankha

A Short Biography of Ogana David Okpah

Ogana David Okpah is an undergraduate of Plant Science and Biotechnology at Nasarawa State University, Nigeria. He is obsessed with writing and the arts in general. He has been recently featured in the Grey Sparrow Journal, Rising Phoenix Review, Provo Canyon Review, Literary Yard and a few more.

 

IM: Indunil Madhusankha

ODO: Ogana David Okpah

 

IM: How would you like to describe yourself in just one sentence?

ODO: Well, I think, I am a silent, easy going person who gets in touch with nature.

IM: I found the two of your recent poems, “LOST” and “HELMINTHS” published in the Tuck Magazine to be really touching and compelling. There, I saw how subtly and interestingly you have manipulated the art of poetry in bringing out your genuine emotions. How do you get the initial impression to write such poems?

ODO: I strive to write poems on matters relating to humans. So, the dark aspects of the human kind such as brutality arise my consciousness to write and hence to fill in the literary spaces and also to develop a measure at creating a balance through an unseen world.

IM: Out of the many works published to your credit, two other very intriguing poems are “A Drink” featured in the Kalahari Review and “SONG” in AfricanWriter.com. I especially applauded your strong powers of imagination perceived in these two poems. What impact do you attempt to create in the readers while authoring such beautiful poesy?

ODO: I have come to grips with the possibility that poetry is everything written for or against anything. I believe that uniqueness makes any poem a good craft. Here, raising the imaginative through the unimaginative as seen in painting is what I want to achieve in order to relieve the human condition.

IM: While reading some of your works, I couldn’t help noticing the fact that religion has an unmistakable influence on your thematic concerns. How would you like to explain this particular tendency in your choice of themes? 

ODO: Our environment and community make us humans. I grew up in a religious society. Besides that, I was raised in a Christian home. I think that these factors have influenced some of the metaphors and notions that I try to communicate through my writings.

IM: If somebody gives you a book compiled with all the poems that you have written so far, which poem would you like to choose as your favourite? Please specify the reason.

ODO: I go with MAN MADE, a poem featured in Former People Journal. The poem was written for my home country. In my view, creativity is gradually decaying in Nigeria, and, as a result, I intend creating something to be creative.

IM: Who is your favourite poet and which of his/her poems do you love the most?

ODO: Derek Walcott. I am delighted to have read his wonderful poem, Love After Love

IM: What is the source of inspiration in the journey through your literary career?

ODO: Well, it is nothing much of the human condition. Nature and its uniqueness, birth, death and grief.

IM: I learnt that you are an undergraduate student specializing in Plant Science and Biotechnology. How do you see the ‘conflict’ between this particular subject area and creative writing?

ODO: Science explores the seen world and its tangible objects, but literature travels beyond that to a mental picture in flight. Yet, at some point, the two may be seen to be converging. The difference is rare and still blurs.

IM: As a student, how do you balance your academic life and literary career?

ODO: In order to survive, one has to act wisely. As to how I manage my writing, I write randomly, not minding time or anything, just when it comes.

IM: How often do you write and what are your favourite genres?

ODO: I can’t say that I am too fast or slow. But, I may say that I try to write each day because it is classified as one of my endeavours. For my favourite genres, I go with poetry, fiction and painting. Actually, I do not paint, but I just love the art.

IM: Would you like to share something about your future writing plans?

ODO: Yes, I think every serious minded writer would want to have a full length book published. Soon, I shall also be climbing that flight of stairs.

IM: What do you think are the biggest challenges encountered by the emerging writers in today’s literary world?

ODO: Publication potential, readership and some rejection letters aren’t friendly at all.

IM: With the introduction of digital platforms, we have been able to witness an efflorescence of creative works across the internet. How do you think these digital trends have contributed to the flux of creativity in the contemporary literary scenario?

ODO: The web is quite easily accessible. Also, it helps different cultures to easily share their views on various matters. Thanks to these digital platforms, currently there is a wide range of readership among creative writers.

IM: At last, what message would you like to convey to the aspirant poets and creative writers?

ODO: I think that the more one writes, the more he develops his skill.

IM: Many thanks, dear Ogana David Okpah. I really enjoyed and appreciate the chance to interview you about your works and your opinion on creative writing.

ODO: Thank you. I am honoured.

 

First published in the Tuck Magazine on 15th March 2016 the link for which is

http://tuckmagazine.com/2016/03/15/exploring-poetics-eyes-young-nigerian-poet-interview-ogana-david-okpah/

 

 

MANAGING WRITER’S BLOCK | SAMUEL AYOADE

“To excel in writing, get the skills and get the craze”
– Ayoola Goodness paraphrased
.
Good day, my name is Samuel Amazing Ayoade, for those of you who didn’t know, Amazing is my Birth name and not a nick. That was how I worked in a place sometimes ago and this particular man would call me Amechi instead of Amazing. How dem con resemble na? Abeg, I no be Amechi o, no kari EFCC con meet me o…
Now to business. What the hell on earth is this Writer-s block being rant about?
A state in a writing career when your muse seems to desert you, when no inspiration comes. When the harder you try to write, the more you end up making no sense. When you feel you have lost your gift, you are helpless, none around you understands, the environment has stopped communicating with you. There you are, you gat it. Writer-s Block.
But do you know that you can come to subdue this demon under your feet throughout your writing career? How? By prayer and fasting. LOL. I forgot I am not here to preach the Gospel of repentance, but of career excellence. Although, the place of God cannot be neglected in man-s endeavours.
Back on point, my point is, Writer-s Block on its own does not exist, it abstract, it’s not real. Did I write It’s not real? It’s real because we make it real. It is a feeling brought about by mental fatigue from over-consistency and inferiority complex. You will notice that it occurs mostly after along period of consistent writing. Is that correct? Okay. That means it is a sign that you are expelling more than you are taking in. The craze goes, the muse dies, because you stopped feeding it.
What kills a Writer the most is staying off reading. Your muse is strengthened when you read and gather new ideas.

Sometimes ago when I had this experience, I wrote a poem titled I HAVE STOPPED WRITING. This is another way to manage Writer-s Block. Put it to shame by writing about it. It’s experimentally proven that when you openly confess a sin, you don’t tend to fall into it. It appears like am preaching again, sweet Jesus! Consider this piece:
caught up
hanging between branches
with toes stretching to tread the future
but there is no future
in this picture….
It looks more like portraying an empty idea. At the same time , it the same time it’s obvious that the Writer is in a state of confusion. You can write further:
yet
in this mystery
is a ministry of hope
redefined, that dawn will break
when the tangles of this night are broken
Weeping, may endure, but a night
joy breaks the dawn.
I have successfully communicated hope to the hopeless while writing about my own worry of being blocked. Keep writing about it daily and you’ll be surprised that soon, other ideas to write about will flow in.

Another thing that gives you Writer-s … whatever, is this:
At times when I read some folk-s work, I feel humiliated. I mentioned inferiority complex up there. Yes, low self-esteem. But I don’t allow that to get me down, I rather work to improve on myself. I read wild and study new styles of writing. I forgot to mention that you should now stick to a particular style of writing. It’s good to give your work a,distinct voice, but explore other styles too, that’s how to keep being relevant, and not to go dry.
On the last note today. When I read Ayoola Goodness, I feel lifted, so I look out for his works to read. His style used to be clearly different from mine, but over time, I got to begin to connect to his spirits. Look out for Writers you cherish, explore their style. If you have their spirit, you’ll connect. Learn wild… Why am I even telling you this, continue enjoying Writer-s Holiday jare. And, if I see you write like me, I will…
Talk to you later.
c. 30 Nov. 2016

————————————————–
First published on the website, ACEworld the link for which is
MANAGING WRITER’S BLOCK | SAMUEL AYOADE
Posted by Indunil Madhusankha

QUIENCE – by Samuel Amazing Ayoade

quience (this is still not the longest poem)
i
.
this silence is a symphony of death.
we dance to pledge allegiance to its sung dirge
of a frustrated future and castrated present
present in the heart
of this silence.
.
this silence is a reflexive response
to the stimulus that pricked adam’s heart
when there was no ecclipse
and the sun sat upon the seas
busy feasting on the forbidden fruit
we all took part in adam’s apple
we are all a part
of this silence
.
this silence, is a symphony of death.
.
ii
.
quience
.
this silence is a canker worm
hitting the liver of every muse with fever
this silence silences sirenes
and the cord of every discord
this quience is in your tongue, my tongue, your
thumb-print
on the day you endorsed silence
in the stead of bubblings
casting off our uniqueness off my thumb
silence is changed, change is silenced
this silence is the echo in the marks of our
thumbs
.
quience is the absence of sun, moon and stars
the seven heaven and the planets
quience is the dissolution of monuments and
stones –
the eviction and extinction of heaven and hell
this silence is not tangible
this quience exists only in our hearts.
.
quience iii
.
quience is the reverberations of our heart in its
cased caseine
it is the echo from the verbal chimneys of denied
progenies
denied the free gift of living
a minute quience for the souls of darkness
this is silence in the quience of my room –
a licence to exanguish nonsence for hi-sense
nonentity for a great entity, an identity of integrity
.
the ‘lord’ is in his holy temple beyond ‘the rock’
let all earth be ‘quiet!’ before him
dare you question his crazy ‘auto’rity?
this is the silence that flows in our veins
it is the veination on the tree that nailed our
manhood
.
quience is the shackle around our wrist
the struggle within the soul of our sole
whenever we are chained by the discretion of our
heart
our brain, our thoughts, tongue and thumb
.
i am silent, you are quiet
we dwell in quience
and we are the silence
.
this quience only exists in our hearts –
a reverberation of our cased heart
.
– Samuel Amazing Ayoade BlazingPen

ecclipse I – Samuel Amazing Ayoade

ecclesiastical lights
flickered
upon
the soul
of our laden
hearts that wear chains
and the soul that share
shame, stains, the regrets of saints
from saintly tongues that stammer, stagger
feets and hands are cold, on hold
and buttocks on deck, on desk celebrate
this ecclipsical silence

this ecclipsical silence –
a state of our heart.
.
– Samuel Amazing Ayoade BlazingPen
01-09-2016

SALAM ALAY’QUM – by Samuel Amazing Ayoade

Salam holds a glittering sword in his right
And a well sharpened matchete in his left
He cries for war in the nooks of every crannies
Roaring on our streets and panting for blood
With speeches decorated with tricks and cunnies
Salam Alay’kum, Salam Alay’kum, I have seen peace cry for war.
.
Salam wears a scary mask of threat
Feigning a smile behind a scary face
Throwing the metro into pandemonium
As cars jostle and run into one-and-other
As they try to hide theirselves outside the dark vacuum of peace
But, then came the kaboom of guns
From the marveling rifle in Salaam’s hands
I have heard men say,
“Salam Alay’kum, Peace Be Unto You”
But I have seen peace thirst for blood.
.
Salam errands for gods that suck blood
His reward lies in the bleeding souls of men
His delight is not in rams and goats
But in the bleeding throats of man
Presented to vultures in a dish of putrefying odour
Upon a large expanse of blood thirsty land
Salam professes peace with his mouth
But hold a sword to our neck
Salam Alay’kum! Tell Salam to keep his peace
For we all hate peace with passion.
.
– Samuel Amazing Ayoade BlazingPen

Call For Submission: AFAS REVIEW

Having taken cognizance of the need to give room for widespread inclusion of creative works in our annual publication, Association of Faculty of Arts Students, University of Ibadan is delighted to announce the call for submissions for the maiden edition of AFAS Review. This deviation from the norm – a turn-away from the Image Magazine – is geared towards creating a viable platform for the integration of works by writers/artists within and outside the university community.
The following categories are open to submissions:
Prose – essays, short stories and flash fictions not exceeding 2,000 words.
Poetry – a maximum of 3 poems per submission.
Drama – a brief satire not exceeding 2,500 words.
Artworks/photographs – visuals (in high resolution) portraying nature and traditional values.
Guidelines
There are no fixed themes. However, entrants should endeavor to explore relevant subject-matter.
Submissions are open to writers/artists from all parts of the world.
All submissions must be original, intellectual property of the entrants.
Submissions should be accompanied with a biography (not more than 100 words) and contact details of the entrant.
All entrants must be submitted via email to afasreview@gmai l.com with the subject – AFAS REVIEW.
Submission Deadline: 8th September, 2016
Selected entrants will receive a copy of the publication.
Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom
For: AFAS Review Committee
Signed:
Akubueze Chidiebere
Director of information, AFAS.