at the last moment (we would find the warmth)
tormenting tides would wane
the storms shall cease
the floods finally fade
our rainbow would spread…
however sleep fared
life’s dream would kiss you
as the rays bless more
wake to stimulating smiles
come to the hearth then
the ghost would have found fires
and the spirit would’ve warmed our homes
no holes then dear, we would have a long lasting laugh. amen.
(From Home Equals Holes: Tale of an Exile – Joint Winner Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize 2014)
No matter where you are, hang on to hope, smile. In our deepest despair, the bleakest night, there come’s a light to repair it all and make it worth the wait. Have faith. Merry Christmas guys- and lovely ladies. SVA
The York Literature Festival / YorkMix Poetry Competition 2019 is open and for the first time since the competition started seven years ago, international entries will be accepted! The deadline is February 24th 2019.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature aka the NLNG Prize for Literature worth $100,000 is calling for submissions in the category of Children’s Literature! No time. Do you have a children’s story book written in the last four years? Do you think it is worth the prize? What are you waiting for? … Wait, are you Nigerian and do you have a national passport or national identity card? Weya o!
The question of writer’s block is one that most writers face, discuss and just make a million excuses of. Several people have given their reasons for why it is there, explaining in scientific and ordinary terms but on January 16th, 2019 at Nick Makoha’s workshop in Oxford – which I attended – we got another view to it.
Well, I was meant to have put this up a long time ago but I forgot to… So, here is me sending my very brief post…dated 13th July, 2018…
It is always fun when you have the crazy people I have in my literary circles – and that includes a whole squad. Well, the good folk at Thoughts Pyramid Art Centre gave us a platform to have literary fun. And boy, did we enjoy ourselves.
A brief account of the poetry workshop: The Poet as Witness, guided by poet Kwame Dawes.
A rainy Saturday winter morn-ning in Oxford. I started walking at 7.45am from Iffley up to the north area of Woodstock in order to reach the Radcliffe Humanities building of Oxford University. I was excited. First, because I was going to go into the architectural entrails of the building that held the philosophy department of the university. This was exciting, because four years before I had intended to volunteer (research for free) in the department in order to soak up in the knowledge I was so hungry to learn and discuss with others. The intention was a failure. Second, because an unknown poet for me, had offered a ‘free’ workshop with the enticing title of The Poet as Witness.
Last year came to an end with me getting a mail from the Nigerian Writers Award group that I had been listed on their 100 Influential Nigerian Writers Under 40. Not a bad way to end the year, right?
My second year on the list and I smiled at the group of names there too: friends like the phenomenal Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, my brothers, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, T. J. Benson and Romeo Oriogun, the poetic maestros Basiru Bash Amuneni, Dike Chukwumerije, Efe Paul Azino and Graciano Enwerem, the graceful Amara Nicole Okolo, Dami Ajayi, Kenechi Uzor, Eketi Edima Ette, Elnathan John, Emmanuel Iduma, Olulu Holloway, Jumoke Verissimo… to mention a few of my people on the list.
It has been an interesting year for me in every way. There have been several challenges but also accolades. I have spent more time on the SEVHAGE front fighting battles including technical demons that saw our website crash for several months, printer devils [pun intended!], amongst other issues. In the midst all of this, there were several blessings. Most importantly, I welcomed a daughter with my wife, Agatha – that is gist for another time. I also got to feature prominently in two literary festivals – the Abuja Writers’ Forum’s literary festival and that of the Abuja Literary Society. I was on a panel with Zaynab Alkali’s daughters in the former and facilitated a workshop alongside Dike Chukwumerije in the latter. I was part of a pre-festival workshop for the Minna Book Festival… These are just a few. I was published in a couple of fine places online and in-print and to the gist of this post – I was shortlisted for some awards.
It isn’t always one wakes up in Oxford or to a day when you would attend Kwame Dawes’s poetry workshop. But that was the case on this fine Saturday, 1st December, 2018. The clouds were gloomy but that was the least of my concerns. I had spent the night in the town after coming in from Brighton the previous day. Kwame had had a reading, followed by a showcase of the African Poetry Book Fund books. It was fun but that is story for another day.