Chisom is one of those people who have managed to create platforms to aid poetry promotion in Nigeria, and he will definitely not be a new name to people who attend his events at Maryland area of Lagos State, Nigeria. He managed to squeeze a time out of his busy schedule and granted this quick interview so he could also air his thoughts on Nigerian poetry scene.
EGC: Please introduce yourself.
CHISOM: I am Chisom, president of Independent Poets Concern (IPC); the convener of Loudthotz Poetry Open Reading (LPOR) the foremost poetry reading only platform in Nigeria.
EGC: Tell us about your discipline/educational background.
CHISOM: I studied English at Ife. I have an MBA and I’m a Member Nigerian Institute of Management.
EGC: Tell us what attracted you to poetry.
CHISOM: What attracted me to poetry was the power of words. I have always noted that words affect me more than my peers. I complained when I was a child that a teacher called us idiots and others never seem to mind. It’s just a word, they say, but to me it is the meaning the word carry that hits me.
EGC: Most poets write fiction, sing, act, or do other art form; which one applies to you?
CHISOM: I write fiction and drama.
EGC: Why is it that most poets can't just stick to poetry & poetry alone?
CHISOM: Because poetry is everywhere, so you can express it in every genre. Even the way you live can be poetic, the way you speak everything is about rhythm. Everything is about the conveyance of meaning.
EGC: Do you have mentors in Poetry, both home & abroad?
CHISOM: No I don't have mentors in poetry. I have people I admire some of their works; people like Niyi Osundare… new piece on the politics of stomach infrastructure in Ekiti.
EGC: Is there any poet(s) you consider to be friends/allies on the poetry scene?
CHISOM: Dr. Andrew Ode, Erhio Obodo, Muyideen Ayinla, Soonest Nathaniel, Akeem Oyalowo, Olulu, Efe Paul, Kemi Bon, Mariyln Maduka, Ifeanyi Okwosha, Philip Chukwu and whole lot of other fine poets.
EGC: What inspired your LoudThotz poetry reading?
CHISOM: At a time I had a collection on 200 poems nobody has ever seen and I thought what a shame I imagined hundreds of other poets with fantastic works hidden under the pillow somewhere I decided to form the organization that convene Loudthotz Poetry Open Reading for poets thoughts to be heard. Also I noted that many formidable poetry competitions require poets to have been published so every poet that reads at Loudthotz is published. We do that for poets free of charge.
EGC: Many poetry events seem to be cropping up nowadays; what is your take on this?
CHISOM: I don't agree there is not enough and mostly they are art evening with singers, spoken word artistes, few poetry as far as I know. Only Loudthotz and War of Words are the only poetry platforms I know with Loudthotz dedicated to only written poetry.
EGC: What do you think will help poetry to grow in Nigeria?
CHISOM: More corporate involvement, sponsorships etc. you know spoken word artistes enjoy more of these patronages because they are entertaining, but poetry most times is intellectually challenging and that may not appeal to sponsors. But more poetry focused events will go a long way.
EGC: What would you say you stand for as a poet?
CHISOM: Equality and freedom, which I know cannot happen; the world system is not organized that way so I stand for the simpler things of life, good poetry.
EGC: Is there anything you would like to see in Nigerian poetry scene soon?
CHISOM: Real poetry appreciation platforms and support.
EGC: If Nigeria were to be a country of Poets & you are the president, who are those people who will be in your cabinet?
CHISOM: I want people in my cabinet who have empathy, who still have a conscience
EGC: Any message for poets coming behind you?
CHISOM: Focus on your art, woo muse and abhor popularity. Run away from mediocrity and read wide.
CHISOM: Thank you for this opportunity.