In our attempt to achieve the goal of bridging the gap between the made and the budding in the literary world, ACEworld star editor, Adeniran Joseph entered into discussion with the recent joint winner of Lagos International Poetry Festival, Mesioye Affable Johnson.
H - Host
G - Guest
H: Sir, can you please, tell us about yourself, brief?
G: Mesioye Johnson is my name. A believer of words. Well, that's the first religion & I believe so much in its healing.
H: Hmmm, Gracious. Since you believe so much in words, does that makes you stand out or it's just your kind of words?
G: Stand out? I doubt if that's a justification for such. I see it as just a random thought tho, since the subject matter remains broad.
H: Ok. Sir, with the way you have been with poetry, literature in particular. What can you say, about the definition of what poetry means to you?
G: Poetry is what remains when every other thing becomes silent. It heals me & I find hope every time I touch it.
H: Hmmm. Deep. I love that. Sir, before moving close to some aspect of your writing, especially the lipfest. Can you tell the challenges you face during writing and how you solved them?
G: I think it's okay and natural not to feel enough for yourself & in times like this, all I do is write poems about it, of course, we all know how money can be an enemy of what the heart wants. Patience, consistency, & readiness are what matters so when opportunity comes, it will strike your readiness & behold, you're fulfilled. International rejections for journals could make you feel inferior after days of writing your darkness out & you're placed on a certain standard by the journal, when this comes, believing in yourself is a factor. Prayers is a key to everywhere
H: Ok. Good.
Concerning your winning poem, can you explain, vividly, the inspiration behind It?
G: Well, I wasn't prepared for it, it just came and as usual I opened my notepad to pour what my heart dictated at that time, randomly. I would say, I know we aren't what matter, hence, reason for that title covering this.
H:How do you feel, when you get rejected on a submission you knew you would win, what concept or feelings does that create to you?
G: Rejection to some of us is the basis of what has brought us this far. Funny thing is, after submitting our works, we already expect rejection mails. That doesn't say we will wait till the mail surface before we continue on the path of growth, no, we update ourselves as much as we can. Though, the feeling of rejection, especially international, is always draining when your effort is beautifully rejected. Mind you, it caused you sleepless nights to edit and all.
H: Can you shed more light, on what 'silence and ' fine poem' means to you, cos these two words are mostly related to the way you write, most especially, your dictions?
G: No. That's not true. I can't remember using these two words together in "most" of my poems. Each words have their respective value and weight they carry in a piece of work. Everything just come like that.
H: Does, call for submission, have any plans for poets or writers at all, in any aspect, and if so, how does it affect our writing?
G: Well, it prepares our minds to work our best out because you wouldn't know the influx of beautiful poets that would be entering too, so you've got to put in your best, I mean, write your best out. Simply, it's meant to bring the best out of us. Getting us prepared.
H: Can you please, differentiate between, write-ups and piece, because, some people do call poetry both, what name is it good to call any art of poetry work when read?
G: That's funny. Poetry is poetry. No dilution. But of course, people could find what they write up (poems) a near synonyms, and I don't think that would be a crime. Smiles. All I know is, get us up on our feet when we read. I mean, I have read a little girl's poem on POETRY FOUNDATION and someone can always call that write-up according to you, but then, it is a wonderful poem that touches the essence of poetry.
H: Using or been an addicted son of metaphor, can you explain, what has metaphor impacted in you, before you chose to express much on it, than any other poetic devices?
G: I wouldn't know what people see in my metaphors only. Seriously I don't know. Smiles. Mind you, while writing, I get carried away to a world where these words jump on my notepad themselves, I just feel it's a part of me that can't be carved away again, I mean, it's too late. I just wonder why people don't tend to see other exploration of devices I try using too. I take that as my poetic signature, though. Smile.
H: Please, vivdly tell a lucid capture in your sense of identity in this or any possible world in imagery or metaphor?
G: I'm a beautiful contradiction
running into space,
this name, will make clouds bow
in a cathedral of faces.
H: Who are the poets or writers that influenced the way of your writing, when starting poetry, and why do you love reading them?
G: This list is endless, seriously. I have the pleasure to say Gbenga Adesina, Adeyemi Agarau, Nome Patrick, Wale Ayinla, Ojo Taiye, Hussain Ahmed, Ocean, Hanif, Kaveh Akbar, Sarah Howe, Kei Miller, Tony Morrison, Lei Chatti, Safia Elhilo etc.
H: In African, do we still have hope that literature can bring a positive impact on the bad essence of this country?
G: Of course, even though I do not get what you really mean by the bad essence of this country, but we know majority aren't happy, so I feel poetry has reduced the rate of mishaps, writers might not know, but this is the truth. If we can do this, by extension, we could do better. We all have an active role to play.
H: What are your source of muse?
G: Simply, nature, what occurs to my heart, what makes me stop all I'm doing to have a reflection on happenings. Just give me silence and I'll spill.
H: What aspect of life do you love writing most, and why?
G: All aspect, anything at all. Even if I haven't written on such subject matter, I like challenges and take up such with all pleasure.
H: If, You're to die today, and You're chanced to write just a poem, what will you title it and why?
G: " I left you a man I couldn't be forever", why? Because in a way I can't fathom I have been able to change things about this world and there are testaments to this fact. God is the backbone.
H: Where do you see yourself, 20 years from now?
G: 20years? Sighs, many beautiful things would have surfaced, really. And the much awaited book, chapbooks and unimaginable awards would have come, by God's grace.
H: What say or advice can you give to budding poets, that are just learning the way of writing?
G: I'm also a budding poet. Learning is a process. I'm still at the beginning of this process.
I just want to say, keep writing, "...fall down seven times get up 8" from the words of Denzel Washington. Take note of all the little things of the environment, they form the basis of art, so hide there.