Our Poet of The Week (#POTW) is young and budding talent Akinrinola Barnabas Ojooluwa.
Born into a family of five, Akinrinola’s education started at Pre-Schoolers’ class, NBTS, Ogbomoso, Oyo State. He later proceeded to Lagos where he had his primary school education at Dominion Nursery and Primary School, Ikorodu. His life journey took him back to Ogbomosoto complete his secondary education at Gomal Baptist College.
Akinrinola is a dedicated christian and his favorite phrase is “I am all I am through Christ who saved me”
Here is his chat with WRR’s Sam De Poet.
What prompted you to begin writing poetry?
As a literature student in secondary school, I had the passion for writing.
I was good in all literature genres but one, poetry. But I grew to love poetry by reading poems, thinking over them and trying to write mine.
Also, I wasn’t happy that I didn’t know much about poetry, a very important genre, aside from the teachings I received in school and that forced me to love it.
So, my passion for writing (and reading) prompted me into poetry.
What inspires your writing?
The happenings of the society and my experiences inspire me.
Do your poems have any predominant themes?
Not really, sir. I write on any theme I feel is nice. But I write more on righteousness and justice.
Why is poetry important to you? Do you get satisfaction from them?
It is important to me because it is a veritable tool by which I express my feelings, thoughts, opinions and experiences in a condensed, convenient and economic way.
I derive great satisfaction from poetry because it is also a big yardstick in communicating with like-minds.
I also love the poems I write. There is this feeling of accomplishment I have anytime I go through my works.
It is the same way an artist would feel pleased with his art work, a painter with his paintings that I feel as a poet with my poems.
Also, you know that pride that arises in you when your bosses whine you as they commend you. Finally, as long as what I’m doing is right, I’m happy and satisfied with it.
Are there any specific poems or poets that have influenced your style as a poet?
Yes, there are! My style has been greatly influenced by great poets like my mentor, confidant, friend and sister, Adegbite Joy Asepeoluwa, who directly and indirectly initiated me into poetry with her hit poem titled “Raped”. I also got to know very fantastic poets through her. That poem of hers made me to start to have a re-think on my hatred for poetry.
Brilliant poets like Sirs Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, Moses Chibueze Opara, Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom, Jeremiah Peters, Ajise Vincent, Eriata Oribabhor, Oloyede Adekunle Joshua, Falodun Emmanuel, Abiola Inioluwa Oluwaseun, SAm dE POet, Oluwatosin Faith Kolawole, Ayomide Festus and Ma’am Temilola Erah Olalusi (to mention but a few) have done well for me in poetry. Big thanks to Oga Mo! (as I fondly call him) for constant encouragement.
How much do you think life experiences influence our writing?
To a large extent, life experiences influence our writing. Most of my poems are drawn from either my experiences or others’.
How much of yourself do you inject into your poems?
Well, I don’t talk about myself in my poems and if I do, it is short and brief. I don’t like showcasing myself.
It’s just like a situation in which a comedian pokes fun at an individual; he would laugh and make his audience laugh at such person. Whereas, if that comedian is made jest of, publicly, he may feel bad and embarrassed.
So also, I like talking about others in my poems though I examine myself first if the messages or themes applies to me too.
Are there certain condition in which you write better?
As long as my brain, my senses, my pen and my note, and a standard dictionary are around with me in a serene and convenient environment, I’m good to go!
What role do you think poems and poets should and can play in society?
Poets should use their poems to proffer solutions to the riddles and problems of the society.
Poets should be able to say and stand by the truth to make positive changes happen. And the changes ought and can start with them.
Most poets write in English. Now, what is your position about traditional poetry written in local dialects?
I must say that using our local dialects to write traditional poems is commendable. Highly commendable and initiative. It’s fantastic!
I think traditional poetry has been here for a long while, especially in the Yoruba tribe. I urge the traditional poets to keep the pen rolling!
You recently came up tops in a poetry challenge in Words Rhymes & Rhythm College of Poetry, how long did it take you to write the winning piece? Describe how you felt when the winner was declared and it turned out to be you?
It took me some hours. I thought and thought for a while as nothing was forthcoming. I was just blank! As I pranced around my room, I silently prayed, “God, give me inspiration” and they (the words) started to drop into my mind.
I was shocked. I was surprised. Though I submitted, I didn’t expect to win where my great bosses were participating. I only submitted the poem because I love the College.
Thank God – Sir KIS put it straight. He said that the winners were not necessarily the best but they paid close attention to the rules.
Before I let you go, drop a word for young, aspiring poets like you?
Chai! Me gan-an I’m a young and aspiring poet. So, my advice to young poets like me is that we should be consistent.
Whether you sit, lie or stand, think, write, walk, make a difference and change the world positively!
Facebook: Akinrinola Barnabas
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.