Moderator of PIN Literary Interviews, Semilore Kilaso manages a discourse with a member of PIN’s Board of Trustees, Chinemerem Anyi who beams light on her literary and social activities, PIN, NSPP and writing in indigenous languages.
Chinemerem Anyi is a writer, community mobiliser and influence peddler. She is the Executive director of Applied intelligence Limited and President of Relief Pitch Initiative, a non-governmental organisation that’s very passionate about Child and Maternal Healthcare. She’s an advocate of good governance and poverty eradication. She’s the secretary, Enugu State Boxing Association, and also the State woman leader of a pan Igbo group called Igboezue International Association. She’s a chartered Secretary and Guidance Counsellor, a staunch promoter of Igbo Language and culture. Poetry is her life!
1.It’s great pleasure having you Mrs Chinemerem Anyi on this session of PIN Literary Interviews. If I may ask, who is Mrs Chinemerem?
Mrs Chinemerem Anyi is a community mobiliser, a positive influence peddler, writer and advocate of good governance. She’s the founder of Relief Pitch Initiative, Executive Director of Applied Intelligence Limited and General Manager of Ronel. She’s passionate about Child and Maternal Healthcare.
2. When and how did PIN become part of what you think about?
In December, 2016, I connected with Sir Eriata Oribhabor; after I read Amarachi Atama’s Post on Festival Poetry Calabar. I sent him a friend request on Facebook and since then I have been an integral part of Poets in Nigeria.
3. Do you have an idea of when PIN was founded? What’s your understanding of PIN’s philosophy of poetry for service?
Poets in Nigeria was founded in 2015 and the philosophy of poetry for service implies serving humanity via poetry; using poetry to address critical issues of life and proferring possible solutions, using poetry not just to entertain but to impact.
4. How far has the philosophy of poetry for service been embraced by poets in Nigeria and the diaspora?
The Merchant of Poetry, Sir Eriata and the entire PIN Family have done a lot to give poetry a facelift and the very dynamic ways and systemic approach with which they cook and serve poetry has made this genre of literature more appealing than ever.
In Nigeria and diaspora, poetry has become more acceptable in so much that there’s hardly an event that’s not been graced by a poet. Poetry as repackaged and sold by PIN has become most sought after in every social gathering.
5. As a member of PIN’s board of trustees, what is your specific role or roles in PIN? Tell us more about PIN’s Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) that you are the coordinator.
Well, I had the privilege to be appointed as a PIN Board member, and my specific role is that of a cordinator of Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP).
NSPP is a poetic microscope with which PIN identify latent talents, harness them and offer them a platform to find expression. NSPP, could be said to be the best thing that has happened to the literary world in Nigeria, Africa and the world in general.
6. You are the President of Relief Pitch Initiative and you take part in many humanitarian services. Can you tell us about your activities?
Relief Pitch is passionate about Child and Maternal Healthcare, with a superfluous hub on VVF.
Basically, we go on grassroot awareness campaigns, encouraging women to attend ante-natal appointments and also, ensure that they don’t patronize quacks and traditional birth attendants who obviously lack the professionalism and equipments to handle emergencies. Knowing that enlightenment is a veritable tool in the mitigation of diseases, we educate them on signs to know when they are in danger and educate them on necessary steps to take
7. Have you ever attended the Festival Poetry Calabar? How do you see the festival improving on her current successes?
Yes, in December 2017, I attended Festival Poetry Calabar. It was simply awesome and from the clips I saw in 2018 and 2019, the festival keeps improving in scope, ideas and content.
I’m confident that her current successes will be sustained and improved on.
8. You write more of prose. Can you give us an insight into some of your published works?
Yes, prose is my area of strength I have published four books, both English and Igbo languages. Biko Egbuchulam is a love story in Igbo Language that revolves around HIV. It is expository of prevention and management of HIV/AIDS; chiefly promoting ABSTINENCE for the singles.
The Goddess of Hope is a work that centres on child and Maternal healthcare. It looks at the various causes of child and Maternal mortality and morbidities, and possible ways to prevent them.
9. How is it being a bilingual writer? Do you think literary works written in an indigenous language is appreciated in Nigeria?
It’s not been easy writing in an indigenous language.
Before now, there was a palpable apathy to indigenous languages by the owners of the languages. But, with the recent renaissance, people are beginning to appreciate their indigenous language.
10. Why do you write and promote poetry?
What can I say? I love poetry. I love poetry. I just love poetry. Poetry is life.
11. What inspires your works?
Everything around me inspires.
12. What in your opinion is the place of poetry as a genre of literature in Nigeria? What future? What opportunities for Poets?
Poetry has a large prospect in Nigeria and globally, and believe me, opportunities abound. These days, there’s hardly a social gathering that’s not graced by a poet, be it burial, child dedication, marriage ceremony, etc. The future is bright and poetry has a big irreplaceable place in that future.
13. Poets in Nigeria is the champion of our country’s poetry renaissance? What’s your take?
There’s indeed no gainsaying. Poets in Nigeria has carved a niche for herself. She’s the champion, and that she will remain.
14. With your selfless efforts in PIN, do you think Enugu deserves a PIN connect centre?
Enugu deserves a PIN connect centre and we are working hard to ensure that it will happen as soon as this pandemic is over.
15. How do you balance your various nongovernmental activities with that of your home front?
Balance, yes, balance is the keyword. I try set my priorities right and then strike a balance.
16. It’s been my pleasure having you. As a way of rounding off this interview, please leave us with few lines of poetry (max ten lines)
A gin, a Zin and a Zin, I got from PIN.
She thought how a sin it is to be in a bin.
So, I made poetry my rin and always I win.