Konya Shamsrumi: What is the process of writing a poem like for you? Is it a lot of hard work or easy?
Toyin Adewale-Gabriel: Sometimes its blood and tears; at other times, it falls easy like rain. I have note books, filled with the scraps of words. I try to catch the moments… a flock of birds on the wings of twilight, the moon majestic on a tableau of darkness. I am a scribbler. I go back to weave the various scraps into the cloth that becomes a poem.
Konya Shamsrumi: Please describe your sense of identity in this or any possible world in imagery or metaphor?
Toyin Adewale-Gabriel: First fruits. Sower. Nurturer of dreams
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?
Toyin Adewale-Gabriel: This poem will save a young #EndSARS would be protester from despair.
YOU CANNOT AVOID ME
I am your allowance at the assembly, the state of your house the whores at brothels, all shouts you invest on self you drink my blood, everyday, I am that crystal. I am your knife, your spoon, your fork though I never taste the fare of chefs. I, your peak cap, your rulers beads, gold decking your hands, how can you dodge me? I bear the gourmet choice to your rare car. my sweat tarred the tarmac for your sirened presence Of course, definitive statements are made when I barrow your rust to the dumps I, your nightmare, stain on different whites whether we meet or not, you cannot avoid me!
Konya Shamsrumi: What does Africa mean to you, as potential or reality?
Toyin Adewale-Gabriel: Heart’s cry, unending hope, a cradle where my voice is framed “like apples of gold in settings of silver’’
Konya Shamsrumi: Could you share with us one poem you’ve been most impressed or fascinated by? Tell us why and share favorite lines from it.
Mary Magdalene I by Boris Pasternak
I break my life before you
Like an Alabaster box.
These lines are so evocative, here is a love that withholds nothing and l literally hear that beautiful, precious alabaster box/life breaking whenever l read these lines.
Toyin Adewale-Gabriel was born in Ibadan, Oyo state. She was educated at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Her works include: Naked Testimonies; Breaking The Silence; Bitter Chocolate; 25 New Nigerian Poets and Nigerian Women Short Stories. Her work has been translated into German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Finnish languages. She was the co-founder and co-ordinator for several years of the Association of Writers of Nigeria. She has previously served as a member of the Executive of the Association of Nigerian Writers and as an Editor of the ANA Review.