SPRINNG LITERARY MOVEMENT
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Lucas was born and raised in a Christian home with his three sisters in Nigeria. As a child, he developed a love for music and lyrical compositions – a habit he picked up watching his late father ceremoniously listen to Bob Marley and Fela Kuti. He has always wanted to be a medical doctor, following the footsteps of his mother who is his biggest source of inspiration Only medicine rivaled his love for art either in the form of poetry or fine art. After completing his medical degree, he began compiling his first collection of poems, and the result is ‘‘…Then I grew wings ’’. Along with writing, Lucas has also displayed his artworks at a number of exhibitions. Thousands of people follow him on Instagram and read his bi-weekly posts.
This interview with Lucas Ogundeyi was conducted by Oyindamola Shoola.
KNOWING THE WRITER
Oyin: How and when did you start writing?
Lucas: This type of question takes me back to the times I spent with my late father. I started writing at a very young age. My dad and I listened to a lot of music together, but I connected with Bob Marley’s music the most. My dad took the time to explain what the songs meant and how clever and important it is to rhyme words to create appealing sound, and hence, forging a good relationship with the listener. So, I paid attention to that and I started writing on my own because I wanted to connect with other people the way Marley did through his music. A few times I helped a lot of my friends and seniors back in school to write love letters to their girlfriends. Later, life happened, I stopped writing for a while, but I always listened to music and paid attention to lyrical content. When my father passed away, I started writing again, this time, with purpose and clarity.
Oyin: Do you remember the first poem that you wrote? What was it about?
Lucas: Officially, the first poem I wrote was about my relationship with my late father. I was in Moscow at the time in a park; I saw a Russian man holding his son while trying to cross the road and something just hit me. I drew inspiration from that scene, and all my feelings turned into words.
Oyin: What do you love most about being a writer?
Lucas: The ability to connect with people through words by recreating old feelings, tackling sensitive issues and most importantly telling the truth.
Oyin: Is writing personal to you and what does it mean to say writing is personal?
Lucas: Writing is personal to me because it’s therapeutic for me. I mean the voices in my head get too loud sometimes, and I need an outlet to release the pressure.
Oyin: How have you combined your academic pursuit in medicine with writing?
Lucas: Being a medical doctor has helped me to understand how people feel and how they process information. One of the most important parts of medicine is anatomy. Studying anatomy helped with imagery. Additionally, to understand people, you need to know psychology, and it’s also a part of medicine. These among other things helped me to find some balance between medicine and writing.
Oyin: What qualities do you possess that contributes to being an excellent writer and particularly, a poet?
Lucas: Empathizing, being a good listener, being a deep thinker, being curious and hardworking.
Oyin: Just for fun: Cat or Dog?
Lucas: Cat and dog.
THE WRITER'S INSPIRATION
Oyin: What inspires you to write?
Lucas: My childhood and upbringing, my parents, and the people around me
Oyin: Which writers have been most influential to your writing?
Lucas: Charles Batowski
Oyin: Who are your favorite Nigerian writers?
Lucas: Niyi Osundare
Oyin: What are your favorite Nigerian books?
Lucas: Astonishing the Gods by Ben Okri
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A Decade of Tongues by J.P. Clark
Starbook by Ben Okri
Oyin: What challenges have you faced as a writer?
Lucas: As a writer, my most significant challenge has been network and outreach. No matter how good your content is if you can’t get it to the right people it won’t reach the majority of people who need it the most. Unfortunately, most writers who have the best content don’t have a big platform to reach people.
Oyin: How have you challenged yourself as a writer?
Lucas: One thing I have done and I still do to challenge myself as a writer is exercising my God-given ability to connect my life experiences with people’s stories or their present situation. I do this by using metaphors to simplify or explain complicated and sensitive issues. I also do some research on those issues and try to propose a solution from my perspective. However, there are times that I won’t be able to come up with a solution, but I think it’s enough to put it out that there’s a problem. Perhaps someone else knows what the solution is.
Title: Then I Grew Wings
Author: Ogundeyi Tolu Emmanuel Lucas
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Year of Publication: May 19, 2018
Number of Pages: 222
Reviewer: Oyindamola Shoola
Unlike the other ways in which I have been introduced to fascinating Nigerian writers, I met Lucas in the comment section of Lanre Oranyeli’s Instagram live session. His excitement to analyze, question, and criticize Lanre’s works drew my attention as well as his sense of humor. At my will, I was forced to follow Lucas on Instagram and read his works.
Lucas’ book Then I Grew Wings, met and simultaneously beat my expectations of what a writer can achieve in their first published collection. The book opens, travels, and closes with various expressions on love, human nature, feminism, art, and many more, through medical lenses in which Lucas reflects his academic pursuit.
Then I Grew Wings is divided into 4 sections; Beginning, Between, Blink, and Begin. However, it is easy to get lost in Lucas’ works and not notice the divisions because of how interesting the book is.
The book opens with poems about parenting which I would also call poetic prose because of the stories that one can draw from Lucas’ works. He talks about how teenage minds travel as their bodies evolve into beings that they may not fully comprehend at the moment. Lucas writes about falling in love or lust at a very young age.
On page 10, a poem titled Parenting holds one of my favorite lines from Then I Grew Wings. Lucas writes,
One day when you’re not around
Your daughter will replace the mirror with the eyes of a boy
And she’ll trade her secrets for his sweet and convincing words
Still exploring the idea of love or lust and how it manipulates or confuses people, in another poem titled Cupid’s Banquet Lucas writes,
Logic is an unwelcome guest
That’s always late to a love fest
While reason is the nervous waiter that spills the drinks
And the heart will always be the life of the party
One of the things that I enjoyed the most in the themes that Lucas explored is the universality. He writes in a way that appeals to human emotions and thoughts, and to people from diverse backgrounds.
Still on the theme of love, Lucas’ use of words is so tantalizing to the mind, and it literarily bursts the brain. In a poem titled Dental Forceps which is my favorite in the anthology, Lucas writes,
Suspend me with a long kiss like a rope linking earth to heaven
With your touch, give my insecurity your dermic remedy and thaw my mind from its wintering
Sell me your religion
Until I let go of my beliefs
Show me how mysteries tromp promises
And love me with all your reptile heart until your venom taste like honey
Darling, I need your sweet words to be as sharp as a dental extraction forceps
Then I won’t have to worry about my conscience digging its moral tooth in my hapless heart
Every time I spend the ungodly hours in your bed
The Sprinng Literary Movement Team is very excited to announce the 21 writers who will be mentored in different genres including poetry, short story, essay, and book review.
Emmanuel Thompson Ekere
Okpara Ugochukwu Damian
Sanni Fatiu Oluwatimileyin
Esieboma Oghenerobo Joy
We wish them the best during the programme.
We are no longer accepting submissions for this contest.
The winners have been selected for this giveaway.
The winners are:
Okpara Ugochukwu Damian
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola got to discuss with Olawale Ibiyemi (Pamilerin Jacob) recently. Olawale Ibiyemi is a young poet, and a graduate of Babcock University, Nigeria. He was a mentee in the first cohort of the Sprinng Literary Movement Mentorship Programme however, in August, 2018, he will be serving as a mentor in the second cohort of the programme.
Pamilerin Jacob is the author of Memoir of Crushed Petals. The major themes in his poems include death, love, abuse and mental illness. His goal of writing is first; to ease internal turmoil and also to shed light on the struggles of mental health patients in Nigeria. Therefore, his poems are often of a confessional nature, taking after the likes of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. Another goal that Olawale has for his writings is, being a voice against the oppression of women, bigotry, tribalism and cultural decadence.
Olawale Ibiyemi has won some local poetry competitions. His poem was shortlisted for the Ken Egba Prize for Festival Poetry 2017. His poems have appeared in the anthology These Words Will Cure a Dead Man by Sprinng Literary Movement 2016, 7th issue of the PIN Quarterly Journal 2017, Words, Rhymes & Rhythms website and on other prestigious Nigerian Literary websites. Some of his poems will also appear in the Best New African Poets 2017 Anthology that will be published in 2018. Olawale also writes non-fiction and can only be kidnapped with a cup of ice-cream; chocolate flavour.
Read their discussion below:
Kanyinsola: Out of curiosity, is Pamilerin Jacob the pen-name or the real name? I see you use both Olawale and Pamilerin for your works online. The Olawale works are more adventurous, particularly "a poem eludes me." Beautiful!
Olawale: Some of us change our names to buy a second life. Pamilerin Jacob is Olawale so to speak; I often say he is a teenage boy living in Olawale’s body.
Kanyinsola: Congratulations on the success of your recent collection, Memoir of Crushed Petals, which has indeed generated quite the attention since its release earlier this year. How has the reception towards the book been for you?
Olawale: Oh, thank you! The reception has been encouraging. Considering the feedback from readers, reviewers, booksellers; I am thrilled that the poems crawled stealthily into people’s bodies.
Title: Memoir of Crushed Petals
Author: Pamilerin Jacob
Year of Publication: March 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 100
REVIEWER: Oyindamola Shoola
Without doubt, Pamilerin Jacob is a phenomenal writer whose words cut through many norms that have gotten too comfortable in Nigeria. He writes boldly and unapologetically with the type of attitude that many pioneer Nigerian writers like Odia Ofeimun did. Pamilerin writes vastly on topics such as; justice, mental health, terrorism, religion, and death, amongst many.
In the poem titled My Bible, My Skin on page 16 of Memoir of Crushed Petals Pamilerin ends with the following lines;
“don’t be depressed, don’t ever tell them you are depressed
do remember to hide your pain under your armpit
Nigerians are never depressed; it is the white man’s disease
don’t be a fucking bastard…!”
Nosagie calmly walked out of the general hospital, eyes bloodshot, oblivious to the words of comfort and sorrow muttered by the nurses. It was well past midnight, but he walked calmly through the streets of Iyanaworo nonetheless, slowly making his way to the bridge, thinking of what he could have done to save Osato’s life. He should have brought her in yesterday, or last week, but even so, he couldn’t have seen this coming. His wife, Osato had been pregnant for eight months, and everything was fine until she felt a sharp pain in her stomach that evening and began to bleed. He had been out driving his blue Volkswagen bus that afternoon trying to make whatever he could so his wife would have enough money to buy more goods from those Hausa traders. She sold onions, pepper, tomatoes, vegetable oil and fish at Ketu. By the time he got home, her blood had already covered a huge portion of the carpet and had thickened like palm oil. He did all he could to get her to the hospital immediately, but it was already too late. The baby came out lifeless, and she also had died having lost a lot of blood.
You’re the rose caught between wooden thorns,
You will bloom my darling but not for long.
If I leave you be, then you choke and be left forlorn.
So I’ll pick and hold you in the warmth of my palms.
You’re the morning, caught between thoughts that the night would come,
You will shine my darling, but not for long.
By your side will I be, for when darkness comes you shall be gone,
So I’d lie awake in your light, and I would love with all my might.
THE WINNER OF JULY 2018 BOOK GIVEAWAYS ARE:
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