Salawu Olajide currently lives in Ife. This is the second time he has been shortlisted for the Babishai Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in Transition, Saraba, New Orleans Review, Soul-Lit, Poetry City, Paragrammer and so on.
Q: What was the process of writing your particular poem, The Music
Man Thinks about Dapchi?
A: The poem stayed in my head for a day after the Dapchi saga. History was repeating itself. You remember Chibok? Anyways, after a day I tried to capture the agony of mother losing their daughters in a country with a loose soul.
Q: What does poetry mean to you?
A: Poetry is a life wrapped up in the economy of words. In its units of metaphors, imagery and linguistic aesthetics, human experiences are locked there in.
Q: What are your five year goals with your poetry?
A: All my goals are embedded in one. And that is humanity. And it is a religion we should all embrace which gives me the ability to impact my immediate society and other spaces where my feet have not reached through my writing. This, I seek every day. And this I will continue to seek.
Q:. Which African poets are you keen on reading?
A: Dami Ajayi, Gbenga Adesina, Warsan Shire, Clifton, Ladan Osman, Shittu Fowora, D. M. Aderibigbe, Adedayo Agarau, Rasaq Malik, Sadiq Dzukogi... My God, the list is endless. Africa is blessed.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face with poetry?
A: When poems stay too long in my head, I hate it.
Q: Is there anything of importance you would like to share with
literature teachers, who are reading this?
A: There is a need to look outside the window and teach new poets who are doing great stuff.
The #Babishai2018 shortlisted poems can be found here:
We’ll be announcing the winner at the #Babishai2018 poetry festival on 5 August in Mbale.