Oluwabunmi Ajayi is the Lead Rep for PIN Ikorodu Connect Centre where literary talents are presented with opportunities to grow and give voice to their ideologies. She shares her journey as a poet and poetry promoter with Semilore Kilaso of PIN Literary Interviews.
Oluwabunmi Ajayi is a radical writer and poet whose work has won her few medals in the past years. Born and brought up in Lagos, she founded The Fledgling Poets, an online poetry school in 2017. While the school lasted, she helped several budding poets hone their writing skills.
Oluwabunmi’s passion for poetry brought her into the PIN family a few years back. It is safe to say that she is indeed an art aficionado who would do her part in upholding it in the entertainment and art industry. She concludes that writing can be therapeutic. Recently, she is mostly found on the stage performing poetry.
Popularly called Boom Boom, she has a podcast series where she performs poetry.
- It’s great pleasure having you on this session of PIN Literary Interviews. Please can we meet you?
Thanks for the privilege. My name is Oluwabunmi Ajayi. I was born and brought up in Lagos. I am popularly known as Boom Boom. Boom Boom is a childhood nickname that stuck. Interestingly, Boom Boom is not just a nickname but a brand name that I’ve built and I’m still building. I am an art aficionado; I love to be creative. Thankfully, poetry has helped me to explore my creative side. Poetry aside, I am a makeup artist, a presenter, and an advocate for people living with sickle cell.
2. Evidently you are passionate about poetry. Why poetry?
Yes, I am passionate about poetry. Poetry gave me a voice. Three years ago, I was a depressed young girl whose future seemed to be blurry. More importantly, I was going through the most difficult times of my life at that point. I would log in to Facebook and begin to read poems. I would never forget Bamidele Badmus (The poetic assassin). I found hope in his poems and one day, I felt instead of reading poems, why not begin to write them? So, I started. My life hasn’t remained the same ever since I wrote my first poem. Writing poetry healed me. I became confident about myself. Writing poetry opened me to other opportunities. I don’t think there will be a Boom Boom brand today if I didn’t start writing poems. It has been an amazing journey and I’m grateful.
3. Can you vividly recall the title of the first poem you wrote? Tell us about it and how you landed into poetry writing.
My first poem was titled, ‘Blurry Afternoon’. Remember I said that I was going through hard times at that time. Precisely, I was battling a health issue. The poem was about my experience with the doctor when he announced my diagnosis. It was indeed a blurry afternoon because I didn’t know how my life would turn out after that. Let me share the poem with you. It’s very short.
A blurry afternoon
In a bright compartment
With two radiant faces
Declaring a message of doom
Within a twinkle of an eye
I saw a trickling down my eyes
Like raindrops from the sky
It went down my mouth
Like a wandering child
I was left in chaos
With my little faith
I knew it was too late
Unlike that blurry afternoon
I see a bright evening
Bringing forth a good morning…
I wanted to tell my stories in lines. I wanted to tell people’s stories and I wanted to heal mentally. Poetry gave me all of that and more. That was how I landed into poetry writing.
4. What is the writing process like for you? How do conclude that you are writing a poem and how do you develop from a word into lines? Do you have any interesting writing habits, such as how and when you write?
The writing process for me is a spontaneous one. I write about anything and at any time. It could be about my experience or someone else’s. It could be just a word or a picture that would trigger a poem. There’s no process.
I know I’m writing a poem when it has most, if not all the ingredients that make a poem. These ingredients include literary devices, choosing the right words to describe emotions, rhythms, and sometimes, rhymes. Lastly, using powerful imageries.
How do I develop a word into lines? When a word pops up in my head. I go ahead to think about other words surrounding it. For example, ‘love’. A lot of things come to mind at the mention of ‘love’. For instance, long-distance relationships, break ups, romance, and so on. I then go ahead to choose which aspect I want to write on. Let’s say that I choose to write on long-distance relationships, the next thing is the title. The title can be, ‘Faraway yet near’. Then the writing begins. I don’t have a writing habit. I write as the spirit leads.
5. You are the Lead Rep. PIN Ikorodu Connect Centre. How is it volunteering your time and services to Poets in Nigeria?
Being the Lead. Rep, Poets In Nigeria Ikorodu Connect Centre is a privilege that I do not take for granted. Although, it comes with a lot of responsibilities. The good thing is, I’m happy to be a part of the ‘Poetry for Service’ mission. Volunteering my time and services for a cause such as this is worth it in the end.
6.. PIN Ikorodu Connect Centre was recently inaugurated. Give us a brief on the centre’s activities, and future plan. What challenges has Ikorodu Connect Centre encountered so far and how do you intend to solve them?
On the 24th of October, PIN Ikorodu Connect Centre was inaugurated. It has been an amazing yet tough experience working with students who have little or no knowledge about poetry. With this in mind, we plan to make school outreach to dispense to the students the fundamental knowledge about poetry. We plan to organize a series of events that would express the talents and creative part of the young members amongst us.
7. What niche do you hope to create for PIN Ikorodu Connect Centre?
Eighty percent of the members of PIN Ikorodu Connect Centre are Primary and Secondary School students. I look at these young minds and I see potentials in them. They are capable of doing extraordinary things if they get the chance. I don’t think I would love to box them to a particular niche. For now, we’ll be exploring.
8.Do you explore other genres of literature other than poetry? Poetry Is my first love. Once in a while, I go on a date with fictional and non-fictional stories. Just a date. (Laughs)
9. You are very active on social media. What is your opinion on engaging Social Media as a tool to promote literary art?
Yes, I’m active on social media, Facebook especially. I have been able to use this platform to promote my brand. I think every writer should use social media to promote their art. This is where everyone sees what you’ve got.
10.What Nigerian poet(s) do you love to read? Jide Badmus, Ehi Ogwiji, Eriata Oribhabor, Awodiya Funke etc.
11.Poetry appreciation is gaining grounds in Nigeria. What in your opinion is the place of poetry as a genre of literature in Nigeria? What future? What opportunities for Poets?
Compared to other genres of literature, poetry has gained grounds. Five years ago, no one knew poetry would be widely accepted as it is today here in Nigeria. Nigeria celebrated herself at 60 this year and there was a call for poets to write and submit their poems. It’s a step in the right direction. The future is colourful. I see amazing opportunities for poets. I see a time where like music, poetry will be accommodated in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Poetry concerts, competitions with ample cash prizes etc.
12. What’s your opinion about Poets in Nigeria as a vanguard of poetry renaissance in Nigeria?
No doubt, PIN is the only initiative promoting poetry today in Nigeria. In the last five years, they’ve succeeded in nurturing our creative selves. More power to their elbow. I am proud to be a member.
13. Thank you for your time. Please leave us with few lines of a poem you have written. (max 10 lines).
It has been a great time with you, Semilore. Thanks for inviting me.
Who am I?
I am a queen
The beauty in me is a beast who roars when it is seen.
I am too real to be described with mere similes. I am an unnamed metaphor.
Who am I?
I am the black girl whose blackness scares the devil
My melanin shines even better at after 7
I am the girl who is proud of her identity.
I am African
My heart pumps the African blood
My body oozes out everything Africanism
I am the pride of Africa…
(Excerpt from my newly written poem titled, ‘Who am I?’)