Remember the interview I? Well, this episode is dedicated to another such interview, it was conducted by a group I belong to on campus known as the “Parliament of Poets” after I received the last poetry award I did. You might want to read through it. It gives an insight into my sojourn as a poet.
(1) Who is Mar’yam, the poet, and how has the journey being so far?
Mar’yam is a lady who finds solace in poetry, as an art and as a passion. I find solace in poetry because I believe it is the only way I can give fluidity and flexibility to the emotions that surge within me. And the journey hasn’t really been far for me because I started taking poetry serious just a bout 2 years ago and the first lengthy poem I wrote then was titled “thoughts on the white throne” and it was really so, because I was in the rest room when the words kept coming like a revelation, and I remember repeating the words to myself then calling on one of my siblings to start putting it down before I forget. Before then, I only usually write my musings of Max 10 lines on an application known as “wattpad”. And because I believe rhymes and rhythms makes a whole part of this world, I enjoy having most of my works actually rhyme, all my early works can be seen as that.
(2) You have been on a winning streak for sometime now, Tell us about it?
Well, I believe it’s been God’s grace all along, and of course tremendous effort to better my poetry skills personally by reading and appreciating other people’s works and also commitment to always pass a message across to the world through poetry. So far, so good, I’ve participated in four poetry competitions and of the four, 3 were organized at grassroots level and one, national/International; I had the 1st position in the very first one by “Angearl initiatives last August, thereafter was the arms of clemency’s own where I also came 1st, then came the M.A.D initiative where I was among the top 3, then the most recent which is also the fourth one is that of the Korean Cultural Center Nigeria, where I came up as the 1st runner up – second position – in the adult category with over 400 entries.
(3)What makes the poems that have won Poetry Prizes unique and how do you think they stand out?
Well, I’m also still trying to find out that one or two things that makes them unique, but I’m sure of one thing, I ensure I write in simple language, clear enough diction, apply adequate literary devices in my poems, observe other spices that give a poem it’s uniqueness when dished on a piece of paper, and God’s grace does the rest. Also, I believe it’s obvious to whoever reads my poems that I write them with passion, I don’t force the feelings or the words down, I write them when they flow, that’s why I sometimes spend days, weeks or even months on some of my poems before completion.
4) You are also a staunch member of the Parliament of Poets, how has the PoP being and what is she to you?
Well, the Parliament of poets has been a kind of bedrock for people like me, a place where I can feel comfortable in my own skin, where I can bring home my emotions by expressing them unhindered. PoP has been like a mother, in whose arms we have been carried to attain feats with poetry, it has created an avenue for people like me to be part of a great family that pushes one to achieve greatness with poetry. Now, being a member of this great movement has been a privilege to me, and I’m glad to be part of the founding members. It is however a very dear movement to me, one which I’m sure is designed for greater feats within and beyond its Alma Mata.
5)What can you say about the most recent poetry prize you won? What defines the prize?
The most recent poetry prize I won is the 1st runner up i.e second position in the Korean cultural center Nigeria Poetry competition, the competition was organized by the KCCN in collaboration with Arojah concepts in Abuja, and the winners were announced and given awards at an event commemorating the “world poetry day” on 21st of March 2017. The event was really eye-opening to me and indeed very exposing, as I had the opportunity of meeting with some dignitaries, young poets, performers and of course it was my first visit to Abuja. The 1st prize winner in the adult category is to be given a cash prize of one hundred thousand naira, the second; seventy thousand naira and the third; fifty thousand naira. Although I do tell people, it’s not just about the money, the most important thing is that achieved feat, winning or topping the list because your message was heard or read. Funny thing is I had even forgotten I entered into the competition, until I received a mail a week to the event, informing me that I was shortlisted among the top ten in an entry of four hundred and seventy two participants from Nigeria, Ghana, Thailand and one or 2 other countries. I was happy then, but I still wasn’t sure of my exact position, so I was anxious, hopeful and prayerful until I got to know I was among the top three, that enabled me go to Abuja for the event.
(6) What are your plans for/about Poetry and what do you think poetry is capable of giving the world
My plans for/about poetry include writing more poems, participating in more poetry competitions, letting people know that poetry is serious business and publishing my first collection of poems before the year runs out (God’s willing).
I believe poetry is capable of shaping the world positively through the poets’ words, like when a poet uses his words to preach cleanliness, propagate peace, promote unity, ensure equality an so on and on, all these for instance we’ve done and will still do in the Parliament of poets where we’re known as “Acknowledged Legislators For the World”.
I have a message and I shall spread it through my pen.
Your words to other young poets?
Let your passion be driven by a desire to always pass a beneficial message across to the world with your pen. Write more, Read more, Muse more and of course Dare more. And, never enter into competitions for the sake of the money or prizes, else it would stain your passion and turn it into an unholy mission.