Showunmi Olawale Michael (SOMwrites), a native of Abeokuta, Ogun state, is a graduate of Accounting from the prestigious Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta. He is an award-winning poet know for writing about politics, nature, love, religion and personal experiences.
Showunmi’s works have featured in several poetry anthologies like Epistle of Lies, Via Grapevine II, Wind of Change (BPPC anthology) and online platforms. In 2015, he won the May edition of the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC) and followed it with the maiden Albert Jungers Poetry Prize (AJPP).
He currently works as a banker.
How and when did you start writing poetry?
I started writing poetry in the year 2012 when I was inspired by a friend and brother here on Facebook platform. I had initially started with prose writing before he later suggested that I try poetry. So I wrote my first poem ‘Chances’.
What can you point to as your source of inspiration?
My source(s) of inspiration is God. But I’d also like to mention my environment, reading and good music.
What kind of environment do you consider conducive for writing good poetry?
In my opinion, I believe you can write good poetry in any environment- be it peaceful or otherwise. It all depends on the power of the poet’s mind to harness and synchronise his/her thoughts to what history and reality holds.
How can you describe the pattern or style of poetry you write?
I am a versatile poet so I write in different style. I can write a rhymed verse so well and I can also reproduce such feat in free verse. For me, it has always been the poem(theme) dictating the style.
Do you have a role model in Poetry? Someone you emulate or even imitate?
Everyone who writes quality poetry is a role model to me.
Although I have had so many role models from Prof Wole Soyinka, Oyin Oludipe Samuel and others. I have learnt more from sir Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (KIS).
In your sojourn into the journey of poetry so far you’ve won a few accolades, what can you ascribe to this feats? How much hard work do you put into writing poetry?
While our major desire should not be winning these accolades, I must say it’s a great honor winning them, and a good feeling too.
I will simply ascribe them to God and of course, personal commitment. I’ve had to read other writers a lot, do serious researches and be humble enough to let others before me offer criticisms. I’ve had to write and re-write, improve on my punctuation and diction too. Above all, I’ve been patient enough.
A number of poets are of the opinion that spotlight recognition is what defines a poet’s success. Do you share this view or a contrary one?
Sincerely I do not believe spotlight recognition is what defines a poet’s success just as there is a diference between a good poet and a great poet.
I believe as poets, our first responsibility is not to get the fame and recognition but rather to heal the world around us. Nothing more, nothing less.
My views are vividly communicated in this excerpt of my poem titled ‘I WRITE FOR YOU’:
I do not write for the god of rubbies
Nor for the noise of mortal fame
The pomp of power and lofty spoils
The fading flashes of earthly dames
Nor do I crave wasting laurels
I write for you my kindred spirits
The desolate lad on the lone streets
The bereaved mind from terror cuts
Let us crave to be the lamb
Let us love all things of humanity
And bleed for it if we must!
How small or big has the various social networks contributed to your poetry writing foray so far?
The social networks have all contributed immensely to my poetry writing. Facebook, twitter, naija stories etc these are platforms that have given me the chance to share my works with great minds and also learn from them. The contributions just cannot be
What kind of poetry do you consider ideal poetry?
In my opinion, the ideal poetry should have the right ingredients of metaphor, symbolism and imagery and above all should engage the reader’s mind long after it’s been read.
What are your goals? What exactly are you aiming for in writing poetry?
My goals have always been to be able to seek out the ills in the society and fight it with poetry. This has been my goal and my aim since I started writing, to influence positive change.
Give a tip or two, a template for successful poetry writing, for the aspiring poets who plan to write as you have done.
For aspiring poets, I’d like to sound a caveat that handwork alone is not the key neither is passion alone. The two is key. Handwork and commitment, a passion greater than reality and of course, patience. Then, God will crown it.