Our Poet of The Week (#POTW) is Umoru Umoru Evidence also known as Umoru Square. Umoru Square, born in the ancient city of Benin, the cradle of black civilization, as the second of four boys, hails from Etsako west LGA of Edo state.
The fresh graduate of Ambrose Alli University, where he studied mechanical Engineering, loves to play with words and rhymes. He is popularly known as Eviy in the poets’ world.
Umoru is romantic, a realist and a personification of optimism who discovered poetry as a worthy hobby in his early twenties.
I had this chat with him:
How and when did you start writing poetry?
Like wool to fabric, i started knitting words to poetry since 2007. The last days of my senior secondary school saw my inception to the scintillating world of poetry. I always nurture the notion of becoming someone with a difference, someone whose works will be remembered in the sands of time.
A peep into my forte and capabilities saw me belittled and disappointed as I couldn’t pick point where I am best at.
I realised I had a passion for famous quotes and poems that rhyme. So I started weaving words together, adding designs with rhymes, and I was astonished by the sweet fabrics it ended up becoming.
What inspires you to write?
Many things inspire me. Life situations and scenarios inspire me. I could see a piece of art, a picture, or a beautiful lady, and my pen will start itching for paper. The canvass embroidered by nature, memories and imaginations could inspire me too. A poem can also inspire me to write a poem.
In fact, anything that steals the passion of me tends to be a great source of inspiration to me.
Do you have a poet you look up to? A poet your poems are similar to his in form and style?
Yes for sure. My pen is trailing the rosy path threaded by Lord Byron, the flamboyant and notorious romantic. A poet whose ink all papers yearn for. His style of writing is unique and he brings out efficacy with rhymes. This defines my style I think.
What theme would you say you dwell on the most in your poems?
Wow! I like writing about Love. Most of my poems centre on love and romance—be they happy lines filled with humour or sad lines with so much vigour that could make one shed a tear. Hahahaha.
Tell us how long you’ve been writing poetry? What have you done to get better through the time you’ve been writing?
For over six years now, I have been writing but in all sincerity, I seldom write. What an irony I hear you say! I read scores of poems before I could pen one down. But this I think this has improved the quality of my writings. I just read, learn and write.
Here in Nigeria and far beyond, poetry is gradually becoming a mouthpiece of the people, a medium through which we can take our leaders to task, do you think there will be a time when poetry will make a real significant impact in governance? Or do you think this pieces we’re churning out will keep getting lost in transit?
Poetry being the first daughter of Literature plays a vital role in governance. A date with history tells you that themes of liberation, independence and negritude amongst Africans began to permeate African literature in the late colonial period between the end of World War I and independence.
Léopold Sédar Senghor was one of the leaders of the négritude movement and eventually became the first president of Senegal. It is the political, economic, social and cultural events of a society that shape its literature. This in my opinion is what makes up governance.
Literature does not grow or develop in a vacuum. It is given impetus by political, social, cultural and economic forces in a society.
Facts have it that many African poets suffered greatly and were compelled to cast aside their artistic vocations in order to be involved in the Liberation struggles of their people. Christopher Okigbo was killed in the Nigerian civil war. Mongane Wally Serote was detained under South Africa’s Terrorism Act. His countryman Arthur Norje committed suicide in London. Malawi’s Jack Mapanje was incarcerated with neither charge nor trial, and in 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa died by the gallows of the Nigerian junta.
Despite these ills and thrills, I believe there comes a time soon when poetry will be in the limelight of governance.
Your impact right here in the college haven’t gone unnoticed; you recently showed a prowess for poetry interpretation, was it a lucky guess? Or would you consider poetry interpretation your forte?
Every poem is best interpreted by the writer, but what makes one a poet is the ability to have an insight of a poem and eventually draw an inference from it. Poetry interpretation is neither my forte nor one bounded by my surmise. It is what makes me a poet.
Your views about African poetry, how do you think we have fared so far flying the flag of the continent? Can you say your poems are rich in African content? Can you say you are one of the flag bearers flying the continent’s flag?
Oh! Each time I read an African poem, I see the beauty of nature spreading her wings like a peacock. From the Niger to the Nile, elves swim in pulchritude. An envy to the western nix. Modern day poets still do project the African theme and I must say we have fared well.
My poems are lean in African content though, but in the future, I tend to write poems that will project the image of the continent and steer it to greater heights for I am the son of MAMA AFRIKA.
Your views about poetry on Facebook, the large turnout of poems on this social network, how has it affected you as a poet? List the negatives and the positives?
About sixty per cent of my Facebook friends are poets. Every day, different poems with different themes are being posted by different fantastic poets in this social network and I must say it has done more good than harm.
As a matter of fact, it has helped build my poetry and gives me the zeal to keep writing. But works are being plagiarised. This is intellectual theft and could weigh any poet down. “To read is easy, to eulogize is easier, to plagiarize is easiest, why not write?”
I leave this rhetoric for those involved in plagiarism.
How do you see poetry? Can it pass for a full time job? Or is it a hobby? A pastime?
Huh? Full time? I am an Engineer. Poetry is my hobby.
What achievement will you consider a zenith point for you in poetry? How are you working towards achieving this goal?
I must not win a Nobel prize before I will say I have gotten to the peak of my achievements.
No! I simply want to impact positively on the lives of people and foster positive changes in the society.
Well none of my poems have been published yet. So I will say I have done nothing significant in achieving this, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. I have made that bold step and I think I’ll get there.
Give a parting shot to aspiring poets who are interested in venturing into this art like you did?
READ, LEARN, WRITE. These three tools are of paramount importance to any poet. Write your own way. That’s what makes your poem unique.
Facebook: Umoru Square
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.