Let’s meet you; Name, Nationality, Family background, Educational background etc
I am Agbetunsin Mayowa. I am a citizen of Nigerian, from Osun State. I am the third child of five children. I studied Civil and Environmental Engineering in the University of Lagos, Akoka. I love my profession as well as the artistic side of my life, spoken words, music, art, acting (sides to my person that I still keep alive as much as I can).
Which one of your poem is special to you and what led you to write it?
Well, every poem I have written is special because they aren’t just random works; they evolve from a story or happening. For the purpose of this question I would say “This is Grace”, because it has had a pretty long lasting effect on those that have heard it.
How old were you when you wrote your first poem? How old were you when you first performed your poem?
What was your childhood like – did you enjoy reading and writing poetry as a kid? What books did you read growing up? and what kind of books do you read now? Any favourite author and why?
As I child, I loved art. Right from Primary School I’ve been exposed to Shakespeare’s works “Hamlet” “Romeo and Juliet” etc. I also loved the wonders in some of the books we read in high school “Joys of Motherhood” etc. Although I neither discovered I could write nor perform a written piece until I was a 15/16.
I have always liked Wole Soyinka and his works, Shel Silverstein “Where The Side Walk Ends” and Emily Dickinson. I like these authors because they have real depth in their works, as their unique styles of communication. No favourites Authors.
Is there any “bad” poem? If yes, what makes a poem “good”?
I would regard a poem as bad, if it is made of incoherent thoughts.
You have a powerful voice yet soft spoken, how do you marry the two contrasting aspects of you?
My voice is a tool of portraying my emotions and the message in my Spoken Words. So it really isn’t hard having the “soft” yet “strong” voice.
What do you like about poetry? On the average, how long does it take you to write a poem? What part of poem writing do you like the most?
I love the fact that poetry is a deep form of writing; that a poet can write a quatrain, and it can be explained in an entire book. The duration for writing a poem varies. I can write a poem in 25 minutes and another in an entire week.
Do you get nervous when you are about to perform your poem? What ritual/ habit do you engage in before you perform?
Yes, I get nervous sometimes, especially when I’m doing a novel poem. To alleviate my fear/tension I pray and rehearse and breathe.
Which emotion(s) drives your poetry the most? Why?
Do any of the artists/ poets you listen to inspire your poems? Do you sit down and think about writing, or do you just get sudden inspirations?
I am a big fan of Joshua Bennett amongst a few others…sometimes I write suddenly just so as to nail-down the emotions of that moment, but still revisit the scribbles and then form definite meanings/thoughts.
Who are your favourite poets, both locally and internationally?
I like Joshua Bennett, Ezekiel amongst a few others. Locally, Titilope, Efe Paul Azino alongside the fantastic poets that feature in Word-Up.
Which is the biggest stage you have performed at before? How was the experience?
I guess the Biggest Stage so far was The Unashamed Concert, of about 1500 people in attendance. It was a privilege sharing with such a large crowd, so I definitely gave it my best.
Do you believe poetry is important today? Why?
Poetry, I believe, is very important today. As it is a tool by which; vital lessons, tales, ideologies, truths, sage instructions can be easily communicated and handed down through generations.
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 hope to have a steady platform to share my works with a larger audience both locally and internationally. I believe by then Nigeria would have fully embraced the art. I also hope we’ll have more poetry and spoken words right from the primary school level through all the tiers of education.
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?
Anyone who wants to commence the art of Poetry should read and learn from previous works, whilst maintaining his/her own unique style. Being able to write a poem is a gift, which should be improved upon and encouraged. So, just start from somewhere. Attend Poetry shows, maximise any opportunity to share your works and improve yourself regularly. Competitions have always been a method of creating interest something, I suggest more attractive competitions can be organised for students. I believe that would kindle the talent and definitely create more awareness.
Is there any link, blog or site people can go to to read your writings/ poems or even watch your videos?
To read some of my works, you can check out my blog agbetunsinmay.blogspot.com.
Any other information you would want us to know about, maybe something personal?
I’d like to encourage any organisation/body promoting Spoken Words in Nigeria. I applaud their efforts and drive so far and encourage them for the journey ahead.
Thank you for your time.
WATCH MAYOWA ON STAGE BELOW
Mayowa – Once upon a dream
Whispers in the wind by Mayowa (Spoken Word Poetry)