Poets Talk: 5 Questions with Adedayo Agarau

#PoetsTalkSeries, Interview
Adedayo Agarau

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

Adedayo Agarau: Each poem I write is a story in space or a story of somebody pulling through a really hard night. Poetry is just what it is, and it has endless possibilities, can be tossed here and there and would still come out either undone or perfect. To cut through the answer whether poetry comes easy for me, I would like to dive into retrospect. In 2014, at the time I had just started writing on Facebook, poetry was more of a popularity contest than the need to churn out serious work. So, then, we would write tons of work and not get tired. Fast track to 2017, I take to each poem diligently. I let the poem ferment in my head. I suck at jotting stuff down, so I rather have the line stuck in my head. I let my work develop in space. It is just my style of things. Poetry is actually usually sacred and dark for me because, however fictional, it is coming from a place of memory.

Then is poetry hard work? No! I would rather refer to it is work. Serious work! I hate to admit it, but however long I take to write a piece, it takes way longer to protect its magic in the place of editing.

I would just settle to agree that my poetry is an easy task ironically.

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

Adedayo Agarau: Identity is vague and ambiguous. I am afraid to talk about how I see myself or what I identify with. Of course, the world has clearly given us a couple of boxes to fit our (tired) bodies into, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual preferences and several other boxes that do not particularly define who we truly are. I AM FIRST HUMAN, before anything else.

And yes, I am a firehouse / a city at night / a song breaking out a boy’s mouth.

Adedayo Agarau
Adedayo Agarau

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

Adedayo Agarau: I discuss boyhood, godhood, absence, grief and loss in my works.

And I would rather have my poems save me, really. Although, I have poems written for my friends who struggle with mental health. It is a tough battle we fight as poets, we carry the weight of the world, and bleed for it as well. On other days apart from Easter, we are Jesus. We continually reinvent healing in our works. At the touch of the hem of our poems, they cry, cry their grief away. And what happens when the light is dead, and we are alone in our rooms?

At The Edge Of A Cliff, a poem I wrote about suicide and wished had not ended the way it did, would be the poem saving someone. And I as well, and everyone going through mental issues about to let their legs slip. We would be the ones the angels catch when we fall.

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

Adedayo Agarau: The African Narrative is shaking the world. We are getting there. Our now is our reality, the future of the Africa we seek is in this big farm of potentials that is cultivated across the continent. Of course, it sometimes hurts to seem that we are at the edge of crumbling, but we are also far from it. We will take the world by storm. Africa means more of potential to me than the reality. We will rise above being a shitty continent. We will no longer be made up of Third world countries (what does that even mean?). We will no longer be seen as sores when we visit other countries. Africa will rise. It will!

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.

Adedayo Agarau: Very easy pick. That poem will be D.M. Aderibigbe’s “The Origin of Kindness

I am still very much in awe of how many pictures my soul brother gave us in this poem, really. It is a very simple narrative of a boy carrying a feverish girl to the school clinic, but DM did not leave out a single detail.

“a boy arose like a saviour. Planted 
this female fever on his back, 
 
stepped out of the class. Turned 
towards the school clinic.” 

Adedayo Agarau is a documentary photographer and poet. He explores the concept of godhood, boyhood, distance and absence. His works are recently featured on 8poems, Gaze Mag, Allegro, Geometry and elsewhere. He lives and writes from Ibadan, Nigeria.

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