Poets Talk: 5 Questions with Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

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Poet, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Konya Shamsrumi: What is the process of writing a poem like for you? Is it a lot of hard work or easy?

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva: Writing a poem is like giving birth before knowing the sex of the baby. For our third child, my husband and I decided not to find out the sex and so we bought all kinds of colours for the baby. Once she arrived (her name is Uwekamani) we were blest beyond words can describe. Poetry is the preparation, labour, intense emotional input and indescribable joy at the outcome. While certain topics are easier for me to write, writing a poem is never easy. I always research into my life, the environment, others’ lives and the social climate, linguistics and current trends, before I complete a poem.

Konya Shamsrumi: Please describe your sense of identity in this or any possible world in imagery or metaphor?

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva: Jackfruit/Fene. A fruit with the most ghastly and frightful outward appearance, daunting and yet on the inside offers a taste that lingers forever and whose memory is unforgettable.

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Poet, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Konya Shamsrumi: If any of your poems could literally save a person’s life, which poem would it be and can you describe the person whose life you think it would have saved?

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva: It would be the poem, Al Qaeda, written and published in my first poetry collection “Unjumping” which emerged first runner-up in the 2010 international erbacce-press competition. It describes the situation of rigorous security checks at an airport and the inconvenience many feel. This, the poem does, using the metaphor of an erotic circumstance to convey the experience. The poem saves people in the metaphorical sense, that if offers an escape from life’s turmoils.

Konya Shamsrumi: What does Africa mean to you, as potential or reality?

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva: It means every day of the 41 years that I have lived; both on the continent and outside the continent.

Konya Shamsrumi: Could you share with us one poem you’ve been most impressed or fascinated by? Tell us why and share favourite lines from it.

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva: This poem by Emily Dickinson is one of my favourite poems in the entire world. It’s timeless, written to highlight our tendency as humans to croak about ourselves, announcing our presence and achievements to audiences that suck us in, just like bog. It’s a tedious task, which all of us have fallen to.

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish — you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!


Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva is a passionate poet, tireless mother, exuberant long-distance swimmer and lover of travelling and nature. She has two poetry collections to her name. The first is Unjumping, published in 2010, by erbacce-press, when she emerged first-runner up in their annual poetry competition. The second, published in 2017, is called Dress Me In Disobedience, highlighting Beverley’s interpersonal relationship with church, sex and politics.

Beverley is the Founding Director of the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award for Ugandan women, the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, where she spearheads the promotion of African poetry. She is also the Founding President of Bukoto Toastmasters Club,that conducts training in public speaking and leadership.

With a Masters of Fine Art Degree in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, obtained in 2012, she has completed her novel manuscript. Her hobbies are travelling, swimming and collecting foreign currencies.

Facebook:    Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Twitter: @BevNambozo

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