Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya, author of ‘WHY ASK WHY’ (a poetry collection), has been writing for the past 15 years. His poetry has been published in several international anthologies and journals.
Adeolu is by profession a strategic change consultant, researcher and part time lecturer, with a Bachelor of Education obtained from the prestigious University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria, and a Master of Science in Business Management awarded by the University of Wales in Cardiff. He is currently a doctoral candidate. Adeolu also works with Autistic children and young adults.
He lives in Romford, Essex, with his family.
Can you tell us when and how you discovered poetry?
I discovered poetry at secondary school. Literature in English was one of my favorite subjects back then, and most Shakespeare works that were part of our curriculum are all infused with poetry, all mysterious, all dreamy.
I saw poetry then as making magic with words; I still see poetry as making magic with words.
I actually wrote my very first poem in 2001.
How would you describe the type of poetry you write?
I love free style type of poetry because of its freedom to write that I really have in mind. However, I’ve experimented with all styles of poetry. For instance, my poem “Bring back our Girls” that came second in the Eriata Oribhabor poetry Prize was written as a form of ‘villanelle’.
Writing is said to be inspired. Do you agree? If yes, what inspires you to write?
Everything is a muse magnet to me. I draw inspirations from everything and everyone around me. However, most of my poems are highly dependent on my emotions.
Many famous poets, like Shakespeare and Soyinka, excel in other literary genres. Are you also a cross-genre writer or you stick to poetry only?
The beauty about poetry is that it affords a poet to the opportunity to decisively and conclusively deal with a story or a theme without any lingering, unlike with other genres. However, I have been known to dabble into short stories writing, both fiction and factual. Humor is central to all my stories. Actually, my first literary work is a short drama.
What do you do when you aren’t writing? Do you have a day job that pays the bills or its writing all through?
Poetry putting food on my table would have been wonderful. However, that day is yet to come. Professionally, I am a strategic change consultant, a researcher, a part time lecturer, and I am also proud of my role of working with Autistic children and young adults.
For many, poetry is an avenue to write for the voiceless or the unvoiced. Would you say your poetry is a means for you to be heard more loudly?
Poetry over the years has been a powerful tool through which I express feelings that mere words cannot convey, especially dark thoughts or innermost desires. Writing about these feelings, either through poetry or prose, helps in masking identity and privacy. I come across to most people as an introvert, but I love having healthy debates and arguments, especially about politics and social ills.
As a writer in the diaspora, how has your poetry been affected?
My poetry is somewhat interpretivist as it describes my subjective reality. However being abroad means I constantly have the challenge of identifying my primary audience.
London is quite an artistic city, and expressive arts in its diverse forms is deeply infused everywhere you go, and anywhere you look – on its streets, the buildings, the walls, even the way people dress is all artistic. Sheffield is another city in the UK that screams poetry. There are poems written and sprawled everywhere – buildings, grounds, park, chairs, stations, there are poems everywhere. In Nigeria, poetry is still confined within pages of a book, or on social media.
How far have your works travelled as an author?
Many of my poems, and even short stories, have been published in several anthologies and journals over the years. My poetry collection titled “Why Ask Why” was published in December 2014 by a UK publisher. A second poetry collection is currently with my editor.
Tell us about that beautiful family you’re always showcasing on the social media.
(Laughs) Family is everything. My beautiful wife and I are blessed with a son and a daughter. My parents and my brother are also actively present in my life, and I am grateful for the grace of having my family close to me.
Still on the social media, to what extent has the social media influenced your writing?
Social media is the light. Writers write in the dark, because of the lonely and private process of emptying one’s soul on a paper, and then showcase their writings to the light, to the world, through social media and other means of communication. I am fortunate to have many creative friends on social media who go beyond clicking the “like” button. They are also critical with their comments and private messages on how to enhance the quality of my poems.
There are days when I am not feeling like writing, but coming to social media opens my creative tap and before I even realize it, poems are conceived and birthed.
Do you have any writers you look up to?
I love and appreciate most writers. However, I have a soft spot in my heart for the poems of the Welsh poet – Thomas Dylan. I also love reading the works of Shittu Fowora, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, and Oyin Oludipe.
Please give a word to aspiring and budding writers.
I have 3 laws. You must never stop learning, you must never stop reading, and you must never stop writing. Once you stop one of these 3 laws, it will be difficult for you to realize your full potentials as a great writer.