McNaevets Chinonso Chibuzor, also known as “The Poetographer” is a Nigerian contemporary Freelance Photographer and Poet. His works, especially photography, tell beautiful stories about lifestyles of people in his locality and places traveled. On the go, he takes photographs of places to be archived as Digital Humanity. Poetography, what he calls his style of photography, is a hybrid form of art that focuses on the unwritten metaphors of photographs. He is the Lead Rep, PIN Yaba Connect Centre.
- It’s great pleasure having you on this session of PIN Literary Interviews. Please can we meet you?
My name is McNaevets Chinonso Chibuzor, popularly known as “The Poetographer”. I hail from the eastern part of Nigeria. I’m a Statistician by profession, a Poet and ‘Poetographer’ – a word derived from ‘Poetography’: which is a hybrid form of art characterized by images but focuses on the unwritten metaphors of photographs.
- You love poetry and also infuse it with photography. Why poetry and photography?
Poetry and photography are two beautiful forms of art that reveal the intrinsic expressions of our humaneness. Both are great combination, and it takes a great mind to see the picture in the middle. Poetry – an expression of emotions through words or action, per se. Photography on the other hand is the art that adds beauty to life by just a capture of moment that becomes memory.
Photography, for me, is a method of keeping track of behavioral characteristics of a people, a place (or places). It tells a lot about lots of things we do not notice… the little details we tend not to see. A photograph shows all.
I’ve been a poet since 2014, writing about my feelings, contemporary issues about the society et al. It’s been a very beautiful experience so far, but what more of a moment can one tell about when there’re lots of unseen metaphors hovering around, waiting to be captured. If there are a lot of stuff to be written or documented then a moment captured can tell a thousand words. Every emotion would be seen, every expressions interpreted differently… that’s when the idea of infusing poetry with photography was birthed.
I started photography in the fall of 2018, and since then I’ve been capturing moments and keeping archive pictorially, putting it out there for people to interpret (…and I always get different interpretations).
As a poet and photographer, I thought it to be cool to be called something else, so I coined ‘Poetographer’ (as earlier explained). In essence, infusing poetry with photography evokes a beautiful feeling to anyone that loves art.
- Can you vividly recall the title of the first poem you ever wrote? Tell us about it and how you landed into poetry writing.
The first poem I ever wrote was a love poem. I can’t recall the title… but that’s it… a love poem.
How I landed into poetry writing…
Well, the desire to express my emotions with words started when I was in SS2. I was not an art student, yet I loved expression of words.
- As poets, some of us tend to look at stylistics. How would you describe poetry in relation to your style?
My style of poetry is contemporary. Sometimes I use free verse, blank verse. I follow rhythms, syllabic counts and often use rhymed poetry as a style.
- What is the writing process like for you? How do you conclude that you are writing a poem and how do you develop from a word into lines?
Sometimes I get stuck in the process… I do not know what step or method to use. Sometimes I flow with the vibe of an interesting mood… sometimes it’s really a writing process: the prewriting, writing and revising. Before writing a poem I conceive the idea in my mind. That’s where the process begins for me… then the writing begins and goes on till it’s okay for a review, but trust me, a poem cannot be wholly written… there’s always more.
Whenever I write something that can be communicated with emotions, then I am writing poetry.
Words always flow. For me, an idea conceived with one word gathers other words together into forming a line or lines.
- How did you become the Lead Rep. PIN Yaba Connect Centre?
I became the Lead Rep, PIN Yaba Connect Centre officially in 2018 after the founding Lead Rep, Mr. Chisom, handed over to me.
- As a spoken word poet, could you recall PIN events you have featured?
I’ve featured in Festival Poetry Calabar (FPC) and ArtHub.
- Yaba connect centre is the first of PIN Centres to stage a Spoken Word Poetry slam. How did it happen and when? Are we expecting another?
Yes, Yaba Connect Centre is the first PIN Centres to stage a Spoken Word Poetry Slam. It was held in October 2018. Another should be expected soon.
- Give us a brief on PIN Yaba Centre’s activities and constitution of your team as well as future plans.
PIN Yaba Connect Centre holds Readings on 3rd Saturdays of every month. We have a WhatsApp platform where ideas are being shared.
The Connect Centre is managed by amazing co-reps and myself and we follow PIN’s objective as our guiding light, hence the constitution.
Future plans… we hope to extend the fun of literature to the locals, schools and sundry, and also hope to have more writing contests and slams in the future.
- What niche do you hope to create for PIN Yaba Connect Centre?
I hope to create a sustainable process duly adhered to in line with PIN’s objective to make PIN Yaba Connect Centre a ‘Hub of Creativity’.
- Have you ever entered for the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) or any poetry contest organised by Poets in Nigeria Initiative?
No, I haven’t.
- What Nigerian poet(s) do you love to read?
I love reading the works of Chinua Achebe, J.P. Clark, Kolawole Oludare Stephen – a soldier and a friend.
- What in your opinion is the place of poetry as a genre of literature in Nigeria? What future? What opportunities for Poets?
Poetry has so much to be explored in Nigeria. I believe consistent sensitization to the public will win poetry a place in hearts more and more. Likewise, poets need to be up in their game, be open to the corporate world and not just writing poems for pleasure. Poetry has gone beyond that. Nigeria needs to have more bites of poetry.
- PIN’s philosophy is “poetry for service”. What is your understanding of this?
“Poetry for Service”, as philosophized by Poets in Nigeria means that poetry is a tool of oneness to serve for the greater good of the society.
- It’s been my pleasure having you. As a way of rounding off this interview session, please leave us a few lines of any of your works. (max 10 lines).
Goodbye is Beautiful
Goodbye is beautiful,
heartbreak is fun.
Hurting is meaningful
when loving is done.
Time will vanish,
you too will.
Days will spring,
memories will linger on.