Samuel Junior Irusota is the winner of Wakaso Monthly Poetry Prize organised by the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation for March, 2020. The prize which carries N20, 000 cash is sponsored by Aisha Wakaso. Irusota is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Author, Poet and Lawyer. He is the author of a Boy’s Body Is War. Olumide Ojo Emmanuel of TNR had an online interview with the March 2020 winner about is idea of poetry.
TNR: Poetry, what is it to you never felt and defined by any writer?
IRUSOTA: Poetry is not just an art, it is life. Poetry is more than the Spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. Poetry is everything. The food we eat is poetry, the water we drink is poetry and the air we breathe is poetry.
TNR: What is poetry doing between you, its maker, and the environment in which you live and make it?
IRUSOTA: As I said earlier, poetry is life, it originated from a Greek word Poiesis which means I make or create. There is a strong nexus between poetry, man and his environment. We have Eco poetry, a genre of poetry which explores how man is connected to his environment or home.
TNR: Poets often talk about the spiritual essence of poetry, what is that?
IRUSOTA: Poetry is spiritual and it predates human and literary existence. The essence of poetry has always been found in nature with spirituality as a guiding partner through the unknown. This is why poems are written as an expression of both the known and the unknown. God is a Poet and he created the Universe through the power of spoken word poetry.
TNR: What is that personal feeling, observation or even conclusion 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?
IRUSOTA: The feeling of finding my own voice, carving a niche for myself and also inspiring young and budding writers.
TNR: Sorry, why are you writing poetry?
IRUSOTA: I write poetry because of these words. To heal, to save, to inspire and to impact the World.
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?
I hold my mother’s portrait
as a memory of silence
And while I sleep
I light them up as candle’s in dreams
TNR: Which poet or literary piece has had the most influential mark on your writing?
IRUSOTA: Romeo Oriogun, because of his identity, depth, queerness, and the usage of imagery in his poems.
TNR: Do you consider poetry as the greatest of the literary art?
IRUSOTA: I do not think poetry is the greatest of all art. These is because every genre of literature has its own uniqueness.
TNR: What do you consider as the most astounding ingredient in any poem?
TNR: What other forms of poetry have you tried writing?
IRUSOTA: I have written other forms of poetry like Haiku, Tanka, tanaga, acrostic amongst others.