Tuesday, July 31, 2018


 Yakeeb is a writer resident in Lagos, Nigeria. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in a number of literary journals including Ynaija, Arts & Africa and others, and he collaborates with other creatives on various projects across genres. He is currently looking to publish his completed chapbook manuscript. 
Courtesy photo

 Q:        What was the process of writing your particular poem, Unholy Sermon Notes?
 A:        It is one of those poems that drops on you like bird poop, maybe in this case, it was a gift from God. The poem was written during a Sunday service that I felt very disconnected from.

Q:         What does poetry mean to you?
A:            Poetry for me is a portal to alternate universes, you can be in yours or get lost in someone else's. That encapsulates it all for me. To dig deeper is to examine the process and the emotions, I'll leave that to the academics.

Q:    What are your five year goals with your poetry?
 A:            Mastery of the art form, enough to teach it. A chapbook and a full-length collection that is special to nearly everyone who comes across them. Also, I intend to travel more so I'm able to write from a wider range of perspectives.

Q:         Which African poets are you keen on reading?
A:            I'm playing catch up at the moment in regards to poetry written by Africans, but I've spent some time reading Dami Ajayi & Efe Paul's poetry and I really like the themes they explore. I recently came across poems by Niyi Osundare, Gbenga Adesina, Bernard Binlin Dadi√© and Jonathan Kariara. I intend to gradually delve deeper and I'm excited about what I'm yet to discover.

Q:    What are some of the challenges you face with poetry?
A:            As a reader, there are times when I wrestle with the patience of taking it all in. There's also the issue of insight, you want to be sure you're in tune with what was expressed by the writer of the poem. As a writer, sometimes, the words that come to mind while writing or attempting to write do not genuinely describe what I feel. Also, navigating the layers of vulnerability can be tedious.

Q:         Is there anything of importance you would like to share with literature teachers, who are reading this?
A:         From a general point of view, passion is enticing. I think you're very likely to bring the best out of students when you teach with love. I recommend watching Dead Poets Society, a 1989 movie directed by Peter Weir.

Q: Any parting remark?
A: I'm thankful to The Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation for providing a platform that promotes literature in Africa. I'm honoured to be on this list alongside these wonderful poets.

You may read the shortlisted poems here:

The #Babishai2018 poetry festival details are here:

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