This week’s Poet of The Week (#POTW) is Tijjani Muhammad Tajhdeen Musa, poet, architect, broadcaster, advertiser, writer, blogger, environmental activist, motivational speaker and philanthropist.
Tijjani is a project manager and chief radio host with SoundWord & Sight Communications Limited (SWS.Comms), publishers of online magazine Design World INTERNATIONAL.
A graduate of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Poetic Tee as he is popularly known online, especially in the field of poetry holds a National Diploma, B. Sc. Honors and M. Sc. Degree all in Architecture. He also has an Advanced Diploma in Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano and is a registered practitioner of advertising.
He was one of the pioneer presenters on Radio Kano (II) 89.3 FM, the first Frequency Modulation (FM) band (1987) in Northern Nigeria. Teejay has also been producing and presenting programs on Freedom Radio 99.5 FM Kano, the first independent FM station in Northern Nigeria, since its inception in 2004.
Tijjani is married with children. He lives with his family in Kano, North-western Nigeria.
In interview with WRR’s Sam De Poet, he talks about his poetry and his newly released book ‘Poetic Tee’.
What prompted you to begin writing poetry?
Thoughts in my head, described by words, making meanings to me. I started putting them down in black and white, soon many start to see poetry.
What inspires your writing?
Life, personal thoughts, daily interaction, observations, Reflections and pondering.
Do your poems have any predominant themes?
Philosophy, Faith, Women, Love, Ethics, Nature
Why is poetry important to you? Do you get satisfaction from them?
Poetic Tee: Poetry is very important to me, because it is a means through which I share my innermost thoughts (my real world) with the rest of mankind. It is my humble gift to others, to be remembered by in the event of my absence.
Satisfaction? Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see my poem exciting a reader in whichever way.
Are there any specific poems or poets that have influenced your style as a poet?
Do I have a style? *smiles* Anyway, Free Verse, Haiku and Limerick poems are my favorite of poems. God (Allah), Rumi and Ellen Edgar Poe influence my style (if I have any, that is) much.
How much do you think life experiences influence our writing?
Poetry is life. It is in everything we say and do. It is only waiting for poets to identify it.
How much of yourself do you inject into your poems?
Not much really. I mostly write about what I reflect, see or observe about others, daily situational developments, phenomena, nature, interactions etc.
Are there certain condition in which you write better?
Tee: In seclusion mostly, but not in isolation. Alone, not lonely, but in company of my pen and paper or with a QWERTY device.
What role do you think poems and poets should and can play in society?
The poet is the voice of a society’s soul. Unless feelings are uttered, written or gestured, nothing is ever revealed.
Poems are the channels through which humans express their open and most secretive thoughts, thereby creating the much needed progressive awareness, which prompts necessary actions that cause change for the best in all human societies.
Most poets write in English. Now, what is your position about traditional poetry written in local dialects?
I am actually an advocate of that, having written poems in Hausa “Bahaushen Asali, Kash! Wasu kunnuwa kawai garesu, Gidan Sauro” etc (my mother tongue) with accompanying translations for international publications.
There are certain idiomatics, among other forms of traditional expressions that can best be presented only in their original format, their language of origin. If written as translations, most of the beauty in rhythms, rhymes, sounds and meanings are forever lost.
And so once in a while, I do incorporate traditional poetic words, phrases, sentences and even whole paragraphs in my poems. I however take the trouble to include a footnote or an appendix (as done at the back of my published poetry book) detailing the “strange”, unfamiliar words to the global readers, who might not understand the language.
You recently released a collection of poems. Tell us about the book and the challenges you faced in publishing it?
My anthology titled POETIC TEE “Here, take a sip” THE FIRST CUP has 124 poems of multiple forms.
A simple down to earth effort, which feature poems that have delighted and mesmerized many on Facebook and elsewhere on several poetic fora all over the world, most especially the internet.
The Foreword was written by Brigitte Poirson, a French woman teacher of English and French with several international publications.
In it there are pages with several definitions of the phenomenon according to some literary icons of the genre, from across the world, past and present, which is sure to add value to your comprehension of what poetry is all about.
Now, the challenges faced in publishing THE FIRST CUP are many, but I’ll list just a few thus:
- Collecting them as a volume due to their being scattered in several pages, books, my digital devices, across the internet etc.
- Proof-reading the poems to ensure they come out foolproof required meticulous attention and expertise. So an English consultant was engaged to work on it.
- The cover graphic design which we wanted to be simplistic as well be catchy was another challenge a good computer graphic artist addressed.
- Getting persons to contribute in writing the books Preliminary Pages, a basic requirement for getting the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) also proved another hurdle to surmount. This is because, though we have many literary icons locally willing to oblige us do this task, we wanted to give the anthology an international face. So we reached out people outside our immediate environment and requested they honor us with their precious ink and they gladly did.
- ISBN acquisition for the book was tedious, as we had to apply for it at the National Library, where they requested for a copy of the anthology’s manuscript, inclusive of the preliminary pages, cover design and so on. Then they requested for a formal letter from the publishing company SoundWord & Sight Communications Limited, not forgetting the ISBN fees. These requirements we eventually successfully met.
- Choosing the quality of paper to be used and the quantity of the book to be published, which are all tied to the financial implications was another major headache, equally surmounted.
- Going to press and discovering some pages were not printed, only for the printing press to admit it was their oversight and source for additional papers to complete the pages caused some delay in the time scheduled for the book to be made available in the market.
- Promotion, distributions, circulations, marketing are still being grappled with at the moment.
Before I let you go Sir, Any word for young, aspiring poets?
My advice to young poets is tied to one word; CONSISTENCY in everything they do as far as poetry is concerned.
They should read a lot of poems from other poets, write as much as they can, different types of poetry forms, Be open to positive, objective criticism from others, it only makes one better, learn as much as they can about their God given poetic ability and seek to excel beyond their limits.
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.