Konya Shamsrumi: What is the process of writing a poem like for you? Is it a lot of
hard work or is it easy?
Aisha K. Mohammed: It’s usually something that
flows easily from me. I don’t write poetry the way you’d expect, on a writing
table with a cup of with coffee by the side. I could be on a cramped bus and a
poem hits me and I have to type it on my phone. I don’t plan it. If I plan to
write, it out it becomes hard. But that depending on what you consider to be “hard”
to be in this case. If it relates to inspiration then I can say that writing
poetry for me isn’t hard. I don’t have a defined process for writing poetry.
When I have to revise and edit the poem, that’s when I have to consider defined
Konya Shamsrumi: Please describe your identity in this or any possible world in
imagery or metaphor?
Aisha K. Mohammed: For me to describe my identity to you in imagery and metaphors and
in any possible world? You would have to consider poetry as more than just
words on paper. You could liken poetry to artwork, artwork in this case paintings,
charcoal drawings and so on. The way there are different media for art, for
example charcoal and oil paint, is the same way we have different styles of
poetry and you always know that a particular artist would always use oil paint
for his paintings and he would have his own unique technique that can never be
similar to another artists. That’s how poetry is. My identity in poetry is my
technique, with metaphors and imagery which portrays myself. A poet’s essence is in the poem and I feel
that you can find my identity from within that.
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
Aisha K. Mohammed: Poetry in its complexities reflects and doesn’t usually provide
solutions. It can affect thought processes though and I think that if you can
change how a person thinks then that person can change things around them and
possibly save lives. But if I had to pick poems then I would pick kneel in
my place—a poem I wrote about intercession and salvation. And an untitled
poem I wrote for Nigeria. The person I would save will be the Nigerians. Our
thought processes and spirituality os separated from religion.
Konya Shamsrumi: What Africa means to you, as potential or reality
Aisha K. Mohammed: Before I say if Africa is potential or reality, I would first say
that Africa is me. It is who I am basically, my skin, hair, language,
everything that I am. And it is home. Africa, in this context of either being
potential or reality, is more potential because I feel that we haven’t lived up
to our expectations. It is potential in the sense that we are constantly short-living
I feel like there is so much more that
we could be, so much more that we could show to the world. It is also reality
but not as much as it is potential because there is so much more in us that we
have not unleashed.
Konya Shamsrumi: Could you share one Poem you have been most impressed or fascinated by. Tell us why and share favourite lines from it.
Aisha K. Mohammed: I can’t pick a particular poem at the moment that would cover every
single poem I’ve ever read. There are so many of them that have been amazing
and it happens that I have a KO for a particular period of time, that would basically
be my guide and even my motto for that period. So, to answer this question, I
would have to narrow it down to the poems that I absolutely love and admire at
this point in my life.
The first would be a line from Titilope Sonuga’s This is how we disappear
"become them, become the only stories we have ever been told "
I love this line because it is from an
African poet but she describes a situation that is familiar to every woman in
the world, this is the condition of women in the world.
The other line is from one of Rumi’s
poems. At this point, I am beginning to delve into the intricacies of Sufism
and I love this particular line:
"Do you know you are a manuscript from a divine letter"
I love this because of how much it
inspires me when I read it. And what it seems to mean, that our lives have
already been drawn out and we do not have to fight so much because some things
are just destined to be.