Let us meet you; Name, Nationality, Family background, Educational background
My name is Onwuasoanya Chika Jones, I am a Nigerian, born of an Igbo father and Yoruba Mother. I am a student of Mechanical Engineering in Federal University of Technology.
Do you consider yourself a Poet? What inspired you to become a Poet?
I consider myself a Poet, more of a written poet than a spoken word poet. I was inspired to be a Poet by friends I met in the university, though I had been writing long before then.
How long have you been writing? How old were you when you wrote your first poem?
I have been writing since I could write. But my first poem was written when I was 15.
What lead you to performing your poems? How old were you when you first performed your poem?
I started performing my poems when I was in my second year, I had travelled to Port Harcourt with my friend and he was part of Seaview Poetry club, they recited their poems on radio, rhythm 93.7, I was able to join them. I also performed at the ANA reading in Honor of Chinua Achebe. I was twenty years old then.
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? Do you have any favourite author and why?
As a child I read few poetry books, I was more interested in prose. So I read a lot of novels and few poetry anthologies. Right now, I still read a lot of prose, but I have also increased my Poetry Volumes. So I can say in Prose, Stephen King is my favourite and in poetry, Rudyard Kipling, I love his witty and light-hearted style, because I can relate with it.
The information you use to write poems, is it based on personal experience or other things such as facts?
Most times I write from personal experience, this is Nigeria, and I come from a humble background, therefore my experiences have shaped my writing, so unless it’s for a competition with a theme, I write from my heart.
What is the most unusual poem you have written? Is it your favorite? Which poem has been your most popular?
The most unusual poem I have written is ‘Dear Bidemi’ because I incorporated my knowledge of sign language. But my favorite is ‘Salute’. I think ‘Dear Bidemi’ is quite popular, the audience love it.
What inspired you to write “Dear Bidemi?” How does love influence your poetry?
‘Dear Bidemi’ was inspired by my knowledge of deaf people, I work with them a lot, because I teach ‘Sign Language’. Love is a powerful emotion, but the truth is, most times, my love poems are quite personal.
Do any of the artists/ poets you listen to inspire your poems? Who are your favourite poets, both locally and internationally?
Like every poet, still growing, I am influenced by rappers and poets heavily. Rappers like Eminem, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, can be quite deep lyrically. Locally, my favourite, poets are, Efe Paul Azino, Nathaniel Soonest, Donna K, Dike Chukwumerije amongst others, internationally, Taylor Mali, Sunni Patterson, Black ice, Bassey Ikpi.
You are in still in the University, how has Education helped your poetry? Does Education play a key role in poetry?
Like I said before, I am studying Mechanical Engineering. As you can see, it’s quite different from poetry, but being a student teaches me the value of research, which I use in my poetry.
What do you like about poetry? Are you of the school of thought that poetry does not have to rhyme?
For me, no one holds the monopoly of defining poetry, but whether you rhyme or not, try not to rap, pass your message, move your audience and you are good to go.
Do you get nervous when you are about to perform your poem? What ritual/ habit do you engage in before you perform?
I am quite shy, so I get nervous, as for a Pre-performance ritual…..hmm…..I just try to breathe and relax.
You won the 2nd edition of the Slam Competition tagged War Of Words 2, how did you feel when your name was announced as the winner? Did you enter the competition believing you will win? Did winning change your view of poetry? Please state how.
When I was announced as winner, I was quite happy, it felt unreal, I had made a lot of sacrifices to be there, but I never expected to win, I just wanted to do my best. And yes, the experience taught me the value of putting forth your best, and that poetry must have content, or it will just be like rap.
You were one of the headlining poets for WORD UP Volume 7 in Ikeja GRA, how was the experience? How was the show itself?
Word Up Volume 7 is a tribute to Olumide “Olulu” Holloway, the presence of some distinguished people made the show superb, also the performances showed me, I have a lot to learn.
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 5 years, I want to be established as a spoken word poet in Nigeria, one of the best. And spoken word poetry in Nigeria, in the next 5 years should be able to compete with the comedy industry as regards size, impact and influence.
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 especially Poetry?
For young people who want to be poets, I would advise them to know why, they want to be poets, define why, and you’ll be successful. Nigerian youths should know that there are a million ways of expression, and that a society with a variety of means of expression, is a beautiful society. So I would advise the youths to read, read, read and then read some more.
Is there any link, blog or site people can go to to read your writings/ poems?
You can visit my Facebook wall, my facebook name is Chikatito Jones, also you can Google my full name, to get some of my published poems and articles. My blog is still under construction.
Any other information you would want us to know about, maybe something personal?
I love reading, and I guess you can say, Optimism is my most important asset.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you too.