In our series of spotlights at ACEworld Publishers, Amaobi Uche engaged Nigerian poet and author, Jide Badmus who also doubles as an engineer on his journey and career coupled with his success timeline.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Sometime in 2002. Though, I had been writing since I was a kid. I remember writing stories and drawing comics in 2A exercise books and sharing with my siblings and parents…and with family guests. But I wrote my first two poems in 2001. I saw them again the following year and knew I would be a writer.
From the beginning, how supportive was your family?
Very supportive. They were my first readers. Both parents were academicians who had published books too. Mum co-authored a Geography text in the late 80s. Dad too had some urban and regional planning publications to his name. Both of them had groomed us to be readers. My siblings were also voracious readers.
What would you say inspires what you write?
Beauty. Destruction (because things in ruins were once beautiful). Nature. Love. Lust.
Since you started writing, is there something surprising; perhaps a philosophy or just a fact that you have discovered?
Being a writer doesn't mean you have all the answers. Writing is our way of probing, interrogating and trying to understand issues. The writer is full of questions. He is like a catalyst, pushing others to think along with him. This is one of the things I have learned.
Talking about poetry, what do you think makes a good poem?
Brevity. Clarity. Relatability. A good poem should not waste words. It should employ words that speak volume. A good poem must have a message and be clear in passing on the message. A good poem finds its way into the heart of readers with vivid and relatable imagery.
How long do you think it takes to write a poem?
It varies. It can be a couple of minutes and it can take months. I think the writing process is a bit difficult to analyse like that. Our thoughts are built over years, these thoughts end up being the bedrock of our poems. A poem is only done after edits and revisions. And these may go on as long as possible. There was a particular poem that took me a full one year to complete…it just needed one line and it took me a year to get a fitting line. At times, it might be just one word…the right word. Even after sharing a poem, i keep reading and tweaking and rewriting.
"Being a writer doesn't mean you have all the answers. Writing is our way of probing, interrogating and trying to understand issues"
- Jide Badmus
What do you find most interesting about writing?
Writing poetry is yearning for perfection. Completeness. Impeccability.
How you can write about the same thing in different ways. How you can say one thing and mean another. How you can release a whole arsenal of emotions with a few expressions.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Publishing "There is a Storm in my Head" in 2017 made me discover a community of poets on Facebook. Something i didn't know existed. It meant I could write and share with a larger number of people and get feedback. It also meant I could read other contemporary Nigerian poets. I experimented more. I became more daring.
If you could tell your younger self anything about writing, what would it be?
This is tough. I don't think I would want to change any aspect of my growth process. My experiences made me the writer I am today. Growing in the silence of shadows, without a guide. Perhaps, the only thing would have been to write more and not doubt myself. To keep and guard every piece of writing like a treasure.
Do you often Google yourself?
I've done it a couple of times. Someone had contacted me. She had discovered me from search engines. So, i also wanted to know what a search for Jide Badmus would bring up. The second time, I was looking for a "lost" poem.