10 Young Nigerian Poets You Should Be Reading in 2017


Nigerian poetry has developed over the years. From Christopher Okigbo to Odia Ofeimun to Gabriel Okara, we’ve read amazing poetic pieces that explore war, immigrant experience, socio-economic issues, loss and love. I loved poetry even before I could write. My Mom would always read short pieces to me and when I was old enough to put the thoughts in my head into words on paper, I began to write mine too. Poetry in Nigeria has come a very long way and there is a now a collection of young new age poets who are writing about things that we haven’t been paying enough attention to before.

These young Nigerian poets are penning pieces about sexuality, mental illness, feminism, patriarchy and more. In this post, some of these young contemporary poets bare their minds about their poetry and why they write.

1.  Afolabi Boluwatife. (@oluafolabi)

“My poetry is borne out of a deep desire to bear witness to the evolution of human consciousness, to heal, to break and heal again.
To write is to battle memory and forgetfulness, to remind myself and everyone else that even though the road here was rough and we kept stumbling on stones but we are still living and the sky is blue and I still run out of words to describe beauty when I see butterflies in a sunset.
To write is to break bodies, faces, memories into words and gather them back into yourself whole.”

2. Moyosore Orimoloye. (@MoyoOrims)

“I used to write poetry in order to be immortal, as Senghor, Clark and Awoonor were on the pages of ‘West African Verse’ and secondary school literature textbooks. To have students dub themselves Orimoloye like we took on the names of the writers we admired.  However, as time passed, I found that I agreed with Bukowski’s suggestion that there are so many poets but so little poetry. To be called a poet was thus unremarkable. Any Alao can wear a flower in his hair, moan into a microphone and break hearts. What is remarkable and truly rare is to write poetry.  I have dedicated myself to this cause; to write and write, clearing out debris from my faucet, till clean water gushes forth. To write what a young poet will someday look upon as like I currently look upon Tranströmer’s Allegro.”

3. Tomi Adesina. (tomi_adesina)

“My poems are majorly free versed. I don’t like boundaries so I try to write as my heart speaks. Sometimes I rhyme my poems but the most important thing for me in poetry as well as other writing is being true to one’s self. My upcoming book, George’s Pieces of Me is a collection of poems and short stories.
Poetry is life. There is always something poetic to see in life – in music, art, fashion, sports, politics, family, you just need to see it and for me that’s what writing is about, seeing.

I write because being a writer is who I am and all I have ever been. I write to live. Literally. Writing brings me home and takes me away. “

4. Efe Ogufure. (@theaventurine)

” I write because I want to become, become the words that tell a story, my story. I write to give words to the heightened emotions that rage within me. I write to hide my phobias and flaws in plain sight.
I write because the world needs a voice to hear our own version of events.”

5. Oreoluwa Aboluwarin. (@oreoluwade)

“My poetry is mostly about people; the elements that make them up, their behaviour to others and so on. Most of the ideas I pick up on revolve around people I have had direct contact with, things about myself I somewhat disguise, people I observed their social media lives and see a thing or two interesting about them enough to write about.

I write first for myself; that I might be better at steering clear of the flaws my poems aim to address, and then however cliche it might sound, I write for one person only. If that one person could make sense of what I write, and it affects said person in any way, I’d think I’ve done a little good.”

6. Alamutu Samiat. (@Ade__Toun)

“I write about love,pain and trauma as I’ve been affected by them. I started to write poetry because I feel like it is the best medium for me to express my experiences or grievances.

It started mainly as giving my voice to others, I started to write so that other people could relate with it but I’ve gotten to a point where it is just about me getting my sanity, confidence self care in order.”

7. Oreoluwa Fakorede. (@OreFakorede)

“My poetry is an outlet for the things that keep me up at night. I’m not a big talker, not used to sharing, so it’s the one way I vent. I do it first for myself, so I don’t go insane, then for other people who are afraid to share what they’re thinking for whatever reason.”

8. Saddiq Dzukogi. (@SaddiqDzukogi)

“I write because I do not want to be like a corpse; even the leave talk when the wind brushes against them. My love for poetry came about from the frustration of a silent body.  My body grew tired and began to talk. My poetry tries to document my experiences and even the experience of my immediate environment.”

9. Diamond-Hope Kingston. (@Ms_DHK)

“People always, always ask why I write poetry and sometimes the answer varies, depending on the person asking. Still always the answer boils down to poetry being a means of finding myself. Because aren’t we all a little bit lost? My poetry is unrestricted and flits from dark and mysterious to deep and passionate. The one thing all my poetry does have in common is the simple language used and very relatable subject matter. I strive to make my readers feel something and also everything I feel.”

10. Efeosa E-Aghedo . (@Efe_EA)

“My poetry shuffles between being inspirational and reflective.  Writing for me is my favourite form of expression. I started writing solely as a means to express things that were not so easy to say, things I felt deeply but couldn’t say plainly. It went from that to story telling and then the first time I wrote something inspirational, I loved it a lot and having experienced the both sides of life,I was glad that I could express my self wholly while giving hope to others.
I also write from my observation of human reaction to life and its challenges, how it should be reacted to. I write to inspire and cause any form of realisation and reflection while expressing myself.
Though sometimes it is really impersonal /neutral.”

Do you know young Nigerian poets we should be looking out for? Tell us about him/her in the comments or send us a mail – [email protected]. You can also send us your profile if you are a poet.

Debbie Otua is a freelance writer focused on arts, lifestyle and mental health. She helps creative entrepreneurs and businesses thrive by spinning unique written content. When she's not writing, she relishes binging on books and playing the guitar. Find her at http://inkandsleek.wordpress.com or on Twitter at @thatgirldorian.

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