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Archangel – Everyone has an element of darkness within them.

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  • Please introduce yourself: name, sex, age, family background, educational background, religion etc. My real names are Gabriel Eric Ehijie and I’m 21 years old, (yes, I’m a small boy). I’m from an Esan family that comprises of a father, mothers and 6 kids. Hmmn, educational background, I attended 9 primary schools (yup, I’m still looking for someone to break that record) , served my junior secondary school time at Wisdom Gate High School (later turned Wellspring College) Ikeja, completed my secondary school at Air Force Secondary School Ikeja, and I’m currently an undergraduate in the University of Lagos. Though I was raised in a Christian family, I have no religion.

 

  • 1-115What does “being a poet” mean to you? Please define poetry in your own words. Poetry to me is synonymous to preaching, and I don’t mean that in a cliché sense, I mean using words that come from deep inside –so deep that most times its source is not known– to connect the emotions of people (usually the emotions people suppress or ignore) and then using the strength of this connection to move him/herself and the people forward. Only the person who does this selflessly should call him/herself a poet.

 

  • How long have you been a poet? When did you write your first poem? I would say I’ve been a poet at heart since I first discovered poetry, but I strive daily to attain the fundamental characters a poet must possess. I wrote my first piece when I was in JSS3 (titled ‘My Story’) though I look at it now with a little embarrassment, but back then it was the outpouring of a troubled kid.

 

  • Who are some of your favorite poets, both locally and abroad? I won’t say I have favorite poets, but some of the poets whose poems I find fascinating are Christopher Okigbo, Ken Saro Wiwa, Niyi Osundare, to mention a few, while for those outside our shores I’ll say Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Norje and Khalil Gibran, to cut the list short.

 

  • Can you describe the time when you first realised that poetry was something you absolutely had to do? I was in JSS3 and I had just finished writing a piece the previous day, so at break time I went to the office of my literature teacher and recited the piece to her, I guess it was the silence in the office (there were also other teachers in the office) that got to me, it was like in the silence of those few seconds I could take all those listening to a heightened sense that even I didn’t understand. After reciting, my literature teacher told me I had talent, that I should always take poetry with me wherever life took me. That had a huge effect on me.

 

  • When and where was your first ever poetry performance? How did it go? My first ever poetry performance in front of an unknown audience would be ‘Chill & Relax’ in 2012. I guess I was at first bothered about the audience not grasping the message (you know not everyone in Nigeria understands what poetry is), but once I saw the audience appreciated poetry it eased my tension.

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  • Do you get nervous when you are about to perform your poem? What ritual/ habit do you engage in before you perform? *laughs* I get up from my seat nervous, but I never climb the stage nervous. I just tune myself to the emotion of the piece I’m performing.

 

  • What brought you to poetry, and what has sustained your relationship with poetry? I guess I was looking for an escape, but the relationship has been sustained by the realization that the escape leads to the entrance, life is a cycle.

 

  • How do you feel education influenced your development as a poet? How? Yes, education has aided me on my path in the sense that I’m able to know when my views are out of ignorance.

 

  • How has your life and/or your relationship with poetry changed since you started performing? What inspires your poems? No huge or dramatic change, it just pushes me to better myself, hence my poems, daily. As for what inspires my poems, life does.

 

  • Why do you call yourself “Archangel”? Why the choice of such a name? What does “Archangel” mean to you? Like I said before, I was looking for an escape and that was the symbol my childhood mind framed. The Christian religion talks of 3 Archangels, 1 fell while the other two remained with God. What the word Archangel means to me is deeper than mankind and its daily trifles, deeper than the sky and its inhabitants that dazzle us at night.

 

  • You mentioned that your first poem was the outpouring of a troubled kid, please elucidate on this. That’s a topic i won’t comment on; let’s just say i had a unique childhood.

 

  •  You said earlier that you were looking for an escape and that is why you sought out poetry. Pray tell, escape from what? An escape from the reality that life is harsh, a truth i discovered way too early.

 

  • Your poems are usually dark, why is that? Your poem titled, “the Glo number you are dialling…” was about suicide, Is the poem about you? Tell us what informed the piece? *laughs* everyone has an element of darkness within them though most try to suppress it, and there’s a lot of darkness in the world so it surprises me when people prefer to ignore them and just talk of love and some things they wished existed but not what really exists. The poem was about me, but the ‘me’ of a different dimension, hopefully the ‘me’ of this dimension won’t end up the way he did. The poem is just a nomadic thought thinking it had found its oasis.

 

  • What is your view on religion as it relates to poetry? I usually skip discussions on religion because that’s a touchy subject in this part of the world, but since you brought it up no wahala. I think religion has a big role in poetry because poets are people too and religion is a huge factor in the subconscious of a person’s mind. Personally, I believe religion separates people and limits ones’ view of lifeto the perspective of just one religion thereby hindering truth if it comes from another means. At least all religions agree that there’s no religion in heaven.

 

  • What is the biggest stage you have performed at before? How was the experience? The biggest platform I’ve had for poetry would be the “WS80” held some months back where more than 50 poets from all over the nationwhere brought together to celebrate Wole Soyinka on his turning 80, it was fun.

 

  • 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? No one can say where he/she would be the next minute not to talk of the next 5 years, I could be at the peak of my career or I could be seeing Hades visions more clearly, no one really knows 1-128this things. However, I see spoken word poetry in Nigeria in the next 5 years bigger than it is now because more people appreciate the art by the day but I hope poets won’t allow corruption that’s eating through every sector of our country to creep into poetry. Once that happens, then there’s really no hope for our dear country.

 

  • Is there any link, blog or site people can go to to read your writings/ poems or even watch your videos? I personally don’t have any blog or sites of my own but some of my videos are on Word Up website (Watch two of his videos below).

 

  • Any other information you would want us to know about, maybe something personal?  Yes, I hate milk 🙂 .

 

  • Thank you for your time. No problem, you’re always welcome.

The Glo number you just dialled by Archangel 

Archangel – Stop the Violence…!!!

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