Let’s meet you; Name, Nationality, Family background, Educational background etc
I am Andrew patience Finye, also referred to as “AP’’. I’m a Nigerian from Nasarawa State. I grew up in a home that only knew and saw mum as all in all because it has been the two of us. I am an On Air Personality and a graduate of History and International studies from University of Jos.
Tell us a bit about your mum, did she support your love for poetry?
My mum has always supported everything I find worthy including poetry. She came for my poetry project for secondary school students in Akure 2014, during my service year. She sometimes travel from Abuja to support my different projects in different things I’ve pioneered. Her love and support has been a great source of inspiration for me.
You have performed poetry over the years. What do you find is the best way into a poetic state of mind for people who are new to the craft?
The best way into a poetic state of mind is stillness, silence and being present in the moment. Real poetry is deep, if I’m allowed to say, it is spiritual and so takes a consciously awakened person to write real poetry.
Which one of your poem is special to you and what led you to write it? What inspired you to write “Never date a Poet?” Please share the experience.
I am an endless stream
Flowing through time
The silent whirling of Truth
Seamless with words,
I am the rage of poetry
Girdled in blood and Spirit
I am all things and nothing
This poem is special to me because it defines all that I am and all I want to do with poetry. I wrote it at a time my poetry needed answers and a living philosophy.
‘Never Date a poet’ was a piece I’ll say was inspired by the crazy and humorous side of me, I woke up in my room and thought about the idea of dating or marrying a poet and decided to play on words which gave birth to this narrative poem. I always tell people that that’s my most unserious piece ever and ironically people love it, but of course I sure would want a poet for a husband lolz.
So, have you dated a poet or are you dating one? If yes, how did you guys meet and who toasted who? What is your boyfriend into and how does he view your love for poetry?
Yes I’ve dated a poet before, how we met and all; I’ll leave for another day. My man is comfortable with me being a poet even though he isn’t one himself. I’ve made him love Poetry beyond my imagination and his support and pride in me is amazing and enabling.
How does love influence your poetry? What is the role of poetry in relationships, in the society, and in business?
Love is the greatest influence on my poetry because there’s nothing greater than love. Poetry expresses love better than any art form in my opinion. Poetry plays a major role in relationships and in society in general because it is the art that makes a person calm to see things in right perspective, like Aristotle would agree poetry is the purest form of Truth in comparison with history and philosophy because it reveals the deepest, true nature and reality of all things.
What was the saddest day of your life thus far? Tell us what happened and did you write a poem to mark it?
The saddest day of my life was when a classmate in primary four called me a bastard. I came back home crying to mum who also joined me crying. Hahaha, it’s funny now because I had a headache and refused to eat or drink anything that day except Andrews liver salt because my dad who is late is Andrew by name. It gave me some relief. I never wrote a poem about that day. I was young and I just realise my pain and unsaid Words that day is poetry itself.
What was your childhood like – did you enjoy reading and writing poetry as a kid? What books did you read growing up? What kind of books do you read now? Any favourite author and why?
My childhood was one characterized by “aloneness” and seclusion, I started gulping mostly visual foreign media products at a tender age. On one of those numerous occasions, I watched an Indian movie and my love for poetry was sparked! I began to scribble words in a special book I kept. I wrote things as a teenager and never took it really serious until I met an older friend, Joe who went through some of my writings and nudged me to write some more. He gave me a black covered unattractive collection of poetry titled ‘Expressions’ whose author I cannot recall and for the first time I read poetry and got caught up in it. At some point, my curiousity and quest for knowledge got the best of me even as a teenager, and so I plunged into reading lots of novels, from thrillers to romance and then back to my first love; poetry. Presently however, I love and read books that have some depth of mystery, mysticism and spirituality. My favorite authors are Maya Angelou, William Earnest Henley, Rumi, Paulo Coelho, Francine Rivers and Ted Dekker. I am drawn to their works because they are able to transcend creativity and mere words into soul and spirit.
Why do you consider yourself a Poet? What inspired you to become a Poet?
I consider me a poet because I do not labour to coin fitting words, poetry for me flows as a current streaming with what is truth and seamless oftentimes, beyond my logical comprehension. ‘I write, therefore I am what I write, poetry’. In a nutshell, Poetry was what inspired me to become a poet, I heard a piece of poetry from a movie and the poet in me got awakened.
You run a poetry circuit in Jos, please tell us about poetry, poets and life in Jos and what the Jos community/ society means to you?
Custodians of African Literature (COAL), is a literary organization that has created platforms for poets and literary lovers in the city of Jos to come express themselves and enjoy poetry and other genres of literature generally. We’ve had open mics and other literary events that have given people in the city the opportunity to learn, share their works before other literary lovers. Well, not to exalt Jos out of proportion, but this tin city of Nigeria is the hub and place for grooming true creativity in Nigeria, even in Poetry. Jos is regarded as the home of creativity and originality. Therefore, the poets in Jos are truly unique, original and amazing. The likes of Anchorman, Decipher, Pst Roy and Oracle are the pace setters for spoken word especially in Jos and it has grown to become an art that can’t be dispensed with, in the city. Jos means a lot to me because it has shaped every aspect of my life for the better.
Tell us about your events in Jos i.e. the featured poets, the atmosphere, the audience and the reaction to the performances. What is the average number of people that attend your events?
Our events in COAL feature the best of J-town Poets, all COAL Ambassadors, Daisy, Farida Adamu, Kristen, Jennifer Dafwat, Lola Onigbinde, Patience Attah and Shemang. The performances are usually explosive, entertaining and educative. The audience of both literary inclined people and those who just love to watch other poets do their thing are always awestruck and oftentimes mesmerized by sizzling performances. COAL has featured celebrated poets as Chijioke Amunnadi, Anchorman, Decipher, Rudolph, Grandsun, Oluwasegun Romeo, Ehizogie, Su’eddie, Sadiq and many others. COAL is just a year old and the average number of people that usually attend our events ranges from 200 to 250, by next year we hope to have more people loving and coming to appreciate poetry.
If you were to organize a poetry event and had to choose between two themes i.e. Poetry and Music or Poetry and Fashion – which would you choose and why?
I’ll choose poetry and music because music is poetry sung and poetry is music written or recited, they both have rhythmic and harmonious flow and are both gotten from the soul, so poetry and music will flow better than poetry and fashion. Fashion is outward, it doesn’t take people beyond themselves.
Should Spoken Word Poetry be mainstream entertainment? If yes, please give us a step by step plan/process of developing the spoken word poetry industry in Nigeria.
Yes, I think poetry should be mainstream entertainment because of its depth. However, I’d implore poets and spoken word artists to do poetry in a way even a layman would understand, keeping it simple and relatable.
Do any of the artists/ poets you listen to inspire your poems? Who are your favourite poets, both locally and internationally?
Well, many poets inspire me. Maya Angelou is the first. There’s a way she recites poetry that I love and she has inspired many of my writings. In my formative years in spoken word, Bassey Ikpi inspired me greatly and I learnt a lot about performing from her. Daniel Beaty, Sarah Kay, Donna K, Dike Chukwumerije, Titilope Sonuga have all made me a better performer. Well every good spoken word I’ve ever listened to or watched I’ll say inspired something in me.
Do you sometimes get frustrated when you are writing? Do you get nervous when you are about to perform your poem? What ritual/ habit do you engage in before you perform?
Frustration I want to believe is every writer’s plight. Sometimes the flow is smooth, at other times it is rough so yes sometimes I get frustrated with writing. I only get nervous before performing a piece when it is not really in me. You know, we write, memorise and perform. This process is tedious and demanding which is why I’m of the opinion that Spoken word poets should be valued and highly paid for the intellectual stretch and acts they put in to deliver just a piece. But we love it, so we do it anyway.
What are your plans for poetry in this New Year 2016, especially as regards growing the art form, upcoming events as well as local and international collaborations e.t.c?
My plan for poetry in 2016 is to put up more platforms for poets here in Jos and beyond. Have collaborations with other literary platforms in promoting the art. Get to organize the first poetry slam in Jos, organize workshops to help writers in this genre perfect their art and to set up literary clubs in some schools.
Where do you see yourself (as regards Poetry) in the next 5 years? Where do you see Spoken Word Poetry in Nigeria in the next 5 years?
In the next five years, I see myself a more profound and outstanding poet both nationally and internationally. Spoken Word in Nigeria in five years will be remarkable and an art that will be incorporated into the entertainment industry and would be highly sort after to bring meaning, reason and understanding to a lot of things.
What advice do you have for young people who want to be poets today? How would you encourage the youths of Nigeria to feel comfortable writing poetry as a form of creative expression? Can you give us some suggestions to increase students’ interest in reading and writing vis a vis Poetry?
Poetry is given, it can be learned but you must learn and then unlearn the conventional to become one with it. It is like an ocean or wind or space, so broad and deep. So my advice to young poets is go into poetry with your soul and spirit, this way you’ll write not just words but living experiences and truths. Based on research and experience, I have come to realize that students get interested in poetry when you teach them how to perform poetry. So teach a child how to take the words from the pages to become his or her reality by reciting and acting the words, only then will you have his or her attention and they will end up loving it and wanting to write poetry.
Is there any link, blog or site people can go to to read your writings/ poems?
I write a lot on my Facebook page @ Patience Andrew.
Watch “Never Date a Poet” by AP on: https://youtu.be/DWihCaFGwb4
Watch “who Murdered me” by AP on: https://youtu.be/aiyuhMmJFXw
Listen to my spoken word pieces on- Andrew Patience (AP) http://www.reverbnation.com/open_graph/artist/3908043
Thank you for your time.