Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ayoola Goodyness Olanrewaju responds

AGO: My name is Goodness Lanre Ayoola  and I was born in 1989 in  Osun State, Nigeria. Some of my poems have been featured in various online literary outlets. My poem 'sound of a needle-drop' won the Peregrine Reads Patriot For Change Creativity Contest, 2015. I have a B.A (ED) in English and an NCE in English and Yoruba languages. I find love as the most important thing in my life...

DV:  I'm always impressed by the depth of feeling in your poems, and by the originality of expression. How did you get started as a poet?

AGO: Thank you... I started writing when I was thirteen in the year 2002. The very first time I wrote a poem was for a children's organization that I was part of... The first time someone, my coordinator then, Kola Obadimu Jnr, called me a poet...smiles..

DV: Like you, I wrote poetry when I was in my 20s, but I never kept much of it.  It was a lot of work trying to find word combinations that were both honest and memorable. (Actually, it still is.) I think your voice is akin to a modern, African, Old Testament prophet, very striking for someone your age. Do you consider yourself a serious reader of the Bible?

AGO: Oh! Never saw that coming...Yes, I commit valuable time to reading my Bible. It may also interest you to know that my parents are ministers of God. I draw my inspiration from God.

DV: Comedians often want to play dramatic roles, and serious actors want to do comedy. Sometimes they can handle both kinds of roles, but often they fail miserably when out of their comfort zone. Have you ever written poems with a different tone than your prophetic one?

AGO: Smiles... Yes, some few ones...humorous poems precisely...If I can remember some...'find me', 'foul play', 'seven lives', 'sweet betrayer' and so on. When I write on themes of love too... I sound less prophetic.

DV: You've grown up in Nigeria during a turbulent time, indeed. How have the events in your country shaped your art?

AGO: Oh...The events here have been shaping the art of not only mine but also of many of others here. You see... I am always moved with concern for people around me as well as states who are victims of the errors (especially in the political realm) in
Nigeria at large in my poetry. They have been able to trigger in me, every now and then, the dire need for change to societal ills and an unceasing clamour for peace in my writings. Of course, the index of my art which I crave so to achieve is to bring change to the collective errors in my country and to other countries in the world who are affected by the same situation.

DV: Other than through the individual's own personal efforts to work toward those goals, through whatever level of political or social involvement  that person engages, what is the role of the poet (or of poetry) n advancing them?

AGO: Permit me to quickly state that the role of a poet or of poetry cannot be overemphasized. I read it somewhere sometime ago that 'with poetry, the world will become a better place'. This implies that that the role of the poet (or poetry in itself) in the achievement of these goals is to continue to be a 'constant voice' for the muteness experienced in the world today. If I may also add to this, the Duane Poetry Blog and many other literary sites and groups promoting poets and poetry are voices playing vital roles in advancing the goals intent of art in the society at large. Poetry must continue to speak out...poets must not cease to lend their voices at every point in time.

DV:  But what if "Evil Poets" are propagating the wrong message? Don't they merely cancel out the positive values of the "Righteous Poets"? Should society censor or ban them?

AGO: That is one of our great challenges as righteous poets. As humans, it is difficult for one to write out the negativity in anything positive. There is always the Good and the Bad. Life is just like that. But this is our hope that the good will always overcome the bad anytime,  any day and by that we are not intimidated. As for the society, in censoring or banning these evil values cooked up by evil minds...I would rather leave them to a choice, because in the society of today, it is disheartening that evil is preferred to good.

DV:  It has always been the human way, don't you think?

AGO: smiles...Of course, it has always been the human way, we do not need a soothsayer or a prophet to tell us that we create our own errors.

DV: Do you have any writing "routine" that you adhere to? Where do you find inspiration?

AGO: I do not actually have a routine for writing, I do it when it is convenient for me and by extension on styles of writing, I really find myself fit into any form of writing (Poetry in particular). As touching inspiration, I am inspired by everything around me down to empty spaces. It is my belief that for everything that is there is a poetry to write.

DV: I share your writing habit, except that it is usually not a matter of 'Convenience." Some Berserker seizes control over my mind and I have to write it out of (or rather, into) existence.

 AGO: Oh...smiles...and that berseker thingy happens to me too almost all the time, it steals my sleep too...smiles.

DV: Have you actually written a poem about empty spaces?

 AGO: Yes, I have, sometime last year, I did a ten series poetry on 'emptiness'.  I did feel out of space, weird kind of thing ...I thought something was going wrong with me...but then, it was just an inspired dimension to poetry...

emptiness I-X


i prey on clusters of darkness
and trap some between the palms of my hands

i stake my fisted-games
over the lashing tongues of fire

i eat the meals of emptiness...

i am a hunter of words
and my heart knows me well

i hunt from an emptiness within
an emptiness, burdened with words...

an emptiness of everything.


there in the heart of space and time
is a broken nothingness of something...many

emptiness like the dusts of dreams
scattered in the heads of deep sleeps...

the emptiness in the rest in peace...

a poet’s weave is from the threads of nothing
from the deaths of broken and forlorn words
and silence...

a roast of darkness over lines of lights
for transformation.


and in the beginning there is an emptiness
a pen and craving spaces...

a poet and thoughts
lines and then poetry...

and the poetry is good...

here lies the creation of poetry
moulded in an empty emptiness...

like the emptiness in the lifting
within the veins of a trodden thread
heavily light.


poesy is a loom of cadence
in the emptiness of sustained notes...

the loud soundless of soothing sounds
in the soft whispers of slowed lyrics

the magic in tender smiles empty and pure...

a foetus in bloody pools of emptiness
in the wombs of barren silence

in the pregnant echoes of lines...

in the breaths of nibs
of inks from fountains void.


i sit at the shore of waters
and i net not for fishes in the deep...

i fish peaceful stimulus of words
from the hovering emptiness 
on the surfaced silence of shallow waters
do you know poetry dances in
the flickers of dust?

empty and light

in the slices of the sun rays...

i gaze at the mumblings of insanity
how words drool from the hotness of rants
and emptiness...

i see poetry
and poetry sees me...

give me emptiness
and i shall give you true poetry

for in this emptiness
i am filled...

muses void, weaves of wordy wonders.


when your eyes see the world
upside down...

and emptiness hemmed at the
dangling up down, down up a poetry to right...

i see poetry to right

in the emptiness of a careless loss
in the emptiness of death, dying and death
in the tongues of ruin of an empty fire...

in the emptiness here, on the slate of my heart.


words weaved in the threads of peaceful muse
lie on the bed of leaves...
in the beauty of emptiness...deep...

in the comfort of a fluttering emptiness
of a dancing dry leaf to the music of the wind...

now...i feel empty
an emptiness in the abundance of words...

like the emptiness of a mirror 
without a face

i itch of poetry...


i fry the flies of failures
in the words of excellence...

failure is a forced poesy
excellence is a true muse...

a true muse... woven from emptiness.

i see dead emptiness breathe
in fluid muses...perfect for thirsts...

in the creation of light lines...empty-
in the purity on the slate of the tongue...

in the nibs of fine poets.


this heart moulds emptiness...

in the likeness of thoughts
 in the clay of lines

he breathes in it figures of speech
and the emptiness becomes poetry...

be fruitful and multiply
have dominion in lines pure...rhythms

in rich rhymes...vast verses...sweet stanzas...
and let this emptiness...

your starting point to poetry.

DV: I hear many echoes of the first chapter of Genesis here. The opening section could well be the voice of God himself, on his own need and desire (and as it is reflected in yourself as the poet/creator).  "In the beginning ... darkness covered the face of the deep... And God saw that the light was good... God blessed them, saying 'Be fruitful and multiply...'  Then God said, 'Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea....'" This is an excellent example, I think, of  tradition informing and structuring inspiration, but also of how true creativity is not limited or constrained by the past. Poetry is an ongoing creation.  In your estimation, how long did it take you to write this poem?

AGO: Your review, sir, is sublime...nothing could be better said than this, hence, my humble appreciation. I wrote each series on a daily basis, let us say ten days...approximately... two weeks.

DV: Did it unspool in the order you present it, or did the middle or end part come first? Do you remember the compositional steps?

AGO: Yes, the whole thing came the way it is presented, I remember someone suggested, when I finished compiling in the sequence that each part was composed, that I should rearrange some parts. But I have not been able to do that...It feels so pure to me retained as inspired.

DV: Typically, when you write a poem, do you know in advance how it is going to turn out, or are you usually surprised by the outcome?

AGO: Oh...that...You really know how a poet feels ...You see... when I write a poem the only one thing I keep my mind on is the theme force...The outcome is always a surprise...Something I cannot fathom.

DV: How did you learn how to be a poet?

AGO: smiles...I do always find difficulty in providing  an answer to this question whenever I am asked. I always wish I had learnt how to be a poet, it would have been a lot easier to teach others. It was already something I was born with...

DV: Were there any poets you read that you learned from?

AGO: Hmm...For me, I read everyone as a poet and I get inspired sometimes, but then, if I have to mention a poet I admire, it would be Prof Niyi Osundare, one of the prominent poets here in Nigeria. My experiences also on online poetry platforms like,, contributed to my growth as a poet.

DV; In particular, what do you think you picked up from Prof. Osundare?

AGO: His simplicity of words, fluidity of thoughts and creativity with language use. He is amazing.

DV: What direction do you think the poetry of the future will take?

AGO: Oh! I believe with the current flowering of poetry and its impact. I see poetry becoming an index finger pointing the world to the path of love, truth and change.

DV: I hope that you will become one of the most important joints in that finger, or the arm and brain that directs it. I want to thank you for your responses to my questions and trust that you will continue to share your special voice with us on Yes, it is my personal and constant watchword. I thank the duanspoetree literary outlet for the interest in me and my poetry. I consider this as a rare privilege for somebody like me. And to continue to share my voice on the blog is a Yes. God bless duanpoetree, God bless Duane Vorhees. Thank you. Smiles...

1 comment:

  1. This genius of a poet says it best: He "weaves wordy wonders". He has definitely changed our poetic landscape and will hopefully formulate our future


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