Lets meet you; Name, Nationality, Family background, Educational background etc
Jaiyeola Jeffrey Ifihan (aka Plumbtifex Rantimus, also known as Plumbline), Nigerian, Lagosian, Last Born in a family of Two, B.Sc. Geology (Ife) and Masters in Applied Geophysics (UniLag).
In your own words, what is poetry and who is a poet? What inspired you to become a Poet?
Poetry is an art form where words find sufficient expression to become pictures. A Poet paints pictures with words on the Canvas of the minds of the audience. I’ve been writing Rhymes since childhood but never saw anything special in it because I thought everyone could. At the age of 7, my birthday gift was Mamman Vatsa’s Poetry for Children from my Cousins. They would never know how much they contributed in shaping me. My Mum always took us to Kingsway stores to buy the Ladybird series.
Is Poetry the same thing as Spoken Word? If yes, please explain.
When Poetry leaves the Page and escapes the Vocal Chords, it becomes Spoken Word.
A lot of Rappers drew their styles from Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron…that says it all. However, Most Spoken Word Artists want you to hear them, so in terms of pace, Spoken Word is oft slower and more deliberate. A good Rapper must be a Poet because you are building on a Rhyme Scheme.
How old were you when you wrote your first poem? How old were you when you first performed your poem?
I wrote my first deliberate Poem at the age of 15, inspired by Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. Been doing recitations since the age of 9 but didn’t perform Poetry until much later, after I had hit 30.
What was your growing up years 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?
We read and read, my Sister’s friends gave me lots of Novels (mostly feminine books) and my Friend handed me Western Novels so I could be ‘tough’ again lol. I had Barbara Cartland’s ‘A Nightingale Sang’ as my 8th birthday gift. I read a lot of the Chases and *covers face* Mills and Boon/Temptations. Currently I read a lot from the Web than I read hard Copies, but my shelf boasts of Alex Haley’s Malcolm X, Public Enemy etc and I have Mallam El-Rufai’s Accidental Public Servant and Pastor Tunde Bakare’s Strategic Involvement in Governance. That suggests I no longer have ‘The Favourite’ in the words of J-Ivy, I expose my Soul to the Globe.
They say poetry is when emotions find thoughts and thoughts find words. So, which emotion drives your poetry the most? and why? Basically, what inspires your poetry?
Anger drives/drove a lot of my poems, a desire to see change. Nowadays I’m seeking a new Muse.
When did you first perform poetry, and what made you feel the need to express yourself in this way?
Between British Council’s WAPI and Anthill, a platform was opened in 2007/8 for Poets and Rappers…then Sage who was the only Spoken Word Artist then walked up to me (actually came to my office) and said I was more of a Poet than a rapper.
What is the most difficult poem you have written? Is it your favorite? Which poem has been your most popular?
I think the most complex was when I did a whole Verse with ‘M’ and one with ‘V’ and one with ‘P’. It was called MVP. I loved it but I’m a realist and I understand that my Favourites are not usually that of the audience. They want to understand you because they may not get a chance to hear you again. So I’d keep d complex for my Album.
All poets have several words that come up over and over again, words or sentences that they just can’t help but use in their work. What are 3 of your absolute favorite words?
Not sure I do hehehe.
Who are your favourite poets, both locally and internationally?
Locally, I plead the 5th…internationally, J-Ivy, Malik Yussef and Saul Williams.
Have you ever performed outside Nigeria? If yes, please tell us where and describe the experience and the response you got.
Do you get nervous when you are about to perform your poem? What ritual/ habit do you engage in before you perform?
Very nervous, but I remind myself that the audience is there for me and look straight at them.
Your poem, “3 Letters/ Baba mi owon” is one of your most popular poems, is it your favourite? Why and what inspired the piece?
It fills me with a heavy sense of responsibility. It was inspired by a little of my ordeal with the Police when I went to send my CV online at a cyber cafe in 2003 and got locked up…
Should Poetry/ Spoken Word be part of mainstream entertainment thus become commercial?
It has to sell to survive. I just am strongly against compromising content.
How has been the growth of Poetry/ Spoken Word in Nigeria? 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?
Maybe retired…LOL there’s a tremendous leap but unfortunately, most Poets still work in Silos…that might slow the growth.
You have performed in different States of Nigeria, especially Lagos and Benin, which city/ venue had the largest crowd? How many were they? and how was the reception to Spoken Word Poetry there? and what was different in those cities compared to the Lagos crowd?
Funny, Benin has a heavier turnout than Lagos, close to a thousand people, and they are equally very receptive too.
I still think the Lagos audience is more diverse tho and exposed to a larger plethora of influences.
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?
Is there any link, blog or site people can go to to read your writings/ poems or even watch your videos?
Any other information you would want us to know about, maybe something personal?
Dead Presidents was shot in and aired in 2010…2016, I would be rolling out my projects.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you too.