1. Tell us about yourself: Name, Age, Family and Educational Background.
My name is Joshua Paul Uma, aka Paul Word. I come from a family of 5 and I am the first. I attended Larinder Nur/Pry School graduated to Bolade Senior Grammar School where I had my secondary education, and right now I just gained admission to study History at the University of Benin.
2. What is your definition of poetry? Do you think Poetry is different to Spoken Word? Why?
Poetry for me is an act of expressing an inward or external thought pen to paper to correct/address a given issue. Poetry is quite different from spoken word, poetry ends on the paper but spoken word goes as far as expressing those thoughts penned to paper. It gives the poet the chance to really express his thoughts through gesture unlike poetry that limit his expression of idea(s) to paper.
3. What inspires you to write poetry? How long have you been writing poetry?
God inspires me, my personal experience and also the good/bad things happening to others. Well, I started writing in the year 2012.
4. What made you transit from writing poetry to performing poetry/ spoken word? How long have you been performing?
Well., the truth is I discovered that poetry limited my expression. I needed something that was visual and would drive my message home and I knew spoken word was the right tool I was looking for. I started spoken word on September 14 2014 at Chill And Relax (an open mic poetry event in Gbagada, Lagos).
5. How has your life and/or your relationship with poetry changed since you started performing?
My life as change tremendously, it has made me more responsible and attune to words, because we spoken word artists need words to strive on.
6. You are in still in the University, what course are you doing? How has Education helped your poetry? Does Education play a key role in poetry?
Like I said earlier I just gained admission, I believe my secondary education has been the fuel that has been keeping me and I thank God for that. Education play a key role in poetry or spoken word. I believe it’s one place illiterate can’t venture into, trust me an illiterate can venture into music and make “useless sound” but for poetry it’s quite different cause you need words and you need to improve your vocabulary and that’s one commitment an illiterate can’t commit to.
7. The information you use to write poems, is it based on personal experience or other things such as facts?
Well, some are based on facts and others are based on experience.
8. What is the most unusual poem you have written? Is it your favorite? Which poem has been your most popular?
*laughs* depend on what you call unusual, I have no favourite poem. I believe all my works are great. The poem that has been most popular is definitely SOS, *laugh*
9. What inspired you to write “SOS”? How do social issues influence your poetry?
SOS came as a result of what we are facing in the society, if you noticed each stanza talked about the ills happening in the society and also a cry for help. I think society influence my writing especially of you listen to SOS and DEMONcracy
10. Congrats on winning War Of Words Season 4, how does it feel to be a winner? Why did you cry when your name was announced as the winner of War Of Words 4?What is a measure of success as a poet?
*laughs* thank you, well it feels good to be a winner. Immediately my name was called as the winner of WOW 4, the sacrifice, effort and commitment I put suddenly elope me into tears and also so many people were banking on me, I was just moved into tears that I didn’t disappoint them. I believe that the measure of success as a Poet is the number of souls your work imparted on positively.
11. What do you think of the competition, your fellow competitors, the judges and the audience? What has changed since you won the competition?
The competition is a good avenue to harness young poets, it’s just a sad thing that corporate organisations are not looking towards it. The judges were great! My fellow competitors were the best, the audience were the kind of audience you would want at such a wonderful event. The only thing that changed is the need to be the best and come up with great piece(s) that the general public would love and appreciate.
12. Which biggest stage have you have performed at before? How was the experience?
I’ve not perform at any biggest stage before War Of Words 4. I’m still a toddler in this race but I know in the near future I’ll be sharing the same stage with Suli Breaks.
13. Which one of your poem is special to you and what led you to write it? Do you believe poetry is important today? Why?
All my poems are special to me but if I have to pick one then it would be SOS cause it’s special to me and also to the public. Poetry is very important to the society because it’s one of the tools we can use to correct social vices and for people like me it can help to put food on my table.
14. Is there any “bad” poem? If yes, what makes a poem “good”?
I don’t think there is anything like a “bad” poem cause trust me different poet write from different angle, just because you don’t appreciate it doesn’t make it a “bad” poem. We should learn to appreciate anyone who decides to pick a pen and write cause only a man with mental strength can do that.
15. Who are some of your favorite poets, locally and internationally? Do any of the artists/ poets you listen to inspire your poems?
My favourite international poet is Suli Breaks and locally, Sir Olulu, Graciano, and Atilola . Most artists inspire my poems, like The Script, Owl City, Ed Sheeran and Asa.
16. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years as it relates to poetry? What advice do you have for aspiring poets?
I see myself performing at the biggest Spoken Word event in the world. My advice to upcoming poets is that they shouldn’t relent, if you’ve not gotten there now doesn’t mean you won’t get there soon and please don’t stop writing and performing.
17. Any intimate details/ information you would like to share with us?
*laugh* I’m a very shy person.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you too.