Ajise Vincentis the winner of Wakaso Monthly Poetry Prize organised by the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation for December, 2019. The prize which carries N20, 000 cash is sponsored by Aisha Wakaso. Ajise is an Economist, Operation Manager, and social researcher based in Lagos, Nigeria. His works have appeared in Jalada, Chiron Review, Asian Signature, Ann Arbor Review, Yellow Chair Review, Bombay Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, The Cadaverine, Saraba, Brittle Paper, Sentinel Quarterly, and Elsewhere. He is a recipient of the Eriata Oribhabor poetry prize 2015. He loves coffee, blondes and turtles.Yusuf BM of the Nigeria Review engages him on his idea of poetry.
TNR: Poetry, what is it to you never felt and defined by any writer?
AJISE: Personally, I do not know if what I have felt concerning poetry has never been felt by another author because I am not omniscient. However, I do regard poetry as any thought birthed in the mind, institutionalized in that same mind and expounded with the use of words and rhythm.
TNR: What is poetry doing between you, its maker, and the environment in which you live and make it?
AJISE: Poetry serves as a tool to shape my mind only. Poetry to me is personal as it serves as a means to exorcise my demons which live in private spaces where life’s vicissitudes has sutured. I make sure I do not inhibit the proclamations of the poem. I do not force my poems to provide a message to the realities of this geoidal world rotating to the discordant beats of vagueness
TNR: Poets often talk about the spiritual essence of poetry, what is that?
AJISE: Many bards in the past consider poetry as a reflection of their realities and experiences. But for poetry to be unique, it must be the visible manifestation of the invisible. Thoughts and cogitations may not be realities but they may be new, invisible and spiritual.
TNR: What is that personal feeling, observation or event that keeps coming to you as a writer of poetry, on the element that will set you apart from the poetry written by others in the years to come?
AJISE: Definitely, dynamism. The ability to probe themes and styles that defy the statusquo. The statusquo is filled with clichés. I am working on tropes, metaphors and styles that defy logic and the principle of commonsense
TNR: Sorry, why are you writing poetry?
AJISE: To exorcise my demons that came to be as a result of life’s vicissitudes. The impartation of my environment may occur in my poetry, but it occurs involuntarily. The poem itself defines its purpose.
TNR: Tell us five profoundest lines of yours, ever. The ones you thought were the living words, to have come out of you in poetry, prose, essay or any form of your art?
AJISE: “the god of our land told us he was grand
enough to fertilize eggs of development.
He told us he was the Abraham of our time,
the father of many nations. But after four years
he pulled down his pants and showed us he had only one testicle”
TNR: Which poet or literary piece has had the most influential mark on yourwriting?
AJISE: Warsan Shire’s “Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth.”
TNR: Do you consider poetry as the greatest of the literary art? Why?
AJISE: No.The various genres of literature complement each other. Stating that one is the greatest belittles the intricacies that exist amongst them.
TNR: What do you consider as the most astounding ingredient in any poem?
AJISE: Imagery. The ability to invoke your thought process in the mind of the reader can only come to fruition with Imageries that flow like Handel’s “Halleluiah chorus.”
TNR: What other form of poetry have you tried writing e.g. haiku, tanaga, tanka, senryu, acrostic etc.
AJISE: I have written a few haikus, kyrielles, tankas. I am working on a few concrete poetry with themes of violence.