‘How I started writing poetry’ – Susan Olalere | PIN Literary Interviews

Susan Olalere won the March edition of PIN 10-Day Poetry Challenge. Here, she talks to Semilore Kilaso about how she started writing poetry and subsequently won the said prize.

Susan Olalere is an indigene of Oyo State residing in Ibadan. She is a student and a freelance writer. For the past three years, Susan has been successfully pushing her way through poetry and thus presently working on her debut book which might drop anytime soon. She has been passionately exploring the world of poetry by participating in a lot of contests cutting across Africa and beyond. Her poem has also been featured on African Writers, and one of her works got a special acknowledgment from a publishing house in India.

1. Congratulations on winning the March edition of 10-Day Poetry Challange. Do tell us more about yourself and how you started writing poetry.

Thank you so much for the opportunity. I am Susan Olalere but I love to keep it short so I prefer to be called Suzi. I’m a freelance writer, student and Internet surfer lol. I spend quality hours researching and gathering new information on my areas of interests. Speaking of, I recently started exploring the world of spoken word poetry and I must say I immediately got captivated in the serene world of performance poetry. I feel it’s so great an honour having to stand in front of many people while communicating your emotions and passing across deep & informative messages in a rhythmic style of poetry.

As I firmly recall, I started writing about three years ago when I encountered a major life blow. It was an unpleasant event that could be likened to a sharp-edged sword being repeatedly pierced through my fragile heart due to the low level of tolerance my heart could accommodate. Looking out for a means to heal, I found a solemn place of abode in writing. Writing became a harmless therapy that raised high my spirits & turned on the lights of my once energetic soul. From there on, no stormy wind has been able to quench my burning pen of poetry.

2. Usually we have joint winners for the 10-Day Poetry Challenge, yet you’re a sole winner, how do you feel about this?

To be honest, it was pretty overwhelming knowing that out of many amazing writers that submitted their entry alongside mine, I emerged the sole winner and that for me is what I’d like to call GRACE and it wouldn’t have been possible without God Almighty, my parents, Mumzlee & my siblings (my major sources of inspiration).

3. Do you agree that competitions are important and healthy in the creative space?

In this growing age and era, competitions are very important and healthy in growth at large. There is a bigger picture to competition that many try to overlook thereby terming it as bad and unhealthy but in the real sense, a competitive environment especially in the creative space is a great tool for developing one’s skills as it’s an effective drive for one to always give his/her best. Competition can also help in building self-esteem as oftentimes it brings you out of your comfort zone thereby helping you discover and capitalize on your strengths rather than on your weaknesses. Looking back, competition has increased my level of exposure to the world of poetry. I have more gains than losses in terms of the knowledge the competitive avenue has created for me and thus I stand to say it is an important aspect of the creative space.

4. What Nigerian poet(s) do you continually revisit their works?

I do enjoy the works of Wole Soyinka, Niyi Osundare, Chinua Achebe and J. P. Clark. I remember reading the works of these men of virtue while in secondary school and till today, I still find their works amazingly inspiring.

5. What in your opinion is the place of poetry as a genre of literature in Nigeria? What future? What opportunities for Poets?

The increasing amount of social awareness and emotional pressure brought about by various occurrences in the country presently has positively triggered the proliferation of poetry thereby giving it the due acknowledgment that it deserves. The fact that social media is also a big influence to the immerse growth of poetry cannot be overemphasized as it has been a big exposure to aspiring poets across the globe. Several like-minded writers from various walks of life with diverse knowledge on poetry have been consistently emerging and keeping up the pace. There is a big future for poetry and its biggest wave is about to hit hard – y’all should watch out for this space!

6. Thank you for your time. Please leave us with few lines of a poem you have written. (max 10 lines).

You’re more than welcome. Indeed, it’s been such a wonderful ride sharing my thoughts & experiences with you. Here’s an excerpt from a poem of mine out of my many collections titled ‘lonely wanderer’

Out of the blues came a lonely wanderer
With figs from the woods
Will you make from me a companion my lonely wanderer?
Paint me in blue
Blue as the colour of the sky
And let’s join hands
Skydiving perhaps
Paint me in blue
Blue as the colour of the sea
And let’s join hands
Ferrying perhaps
Paint me in blue
Oh my lonely wanderer

3 Replies to “‘How I started writing poetry’ – Susan Olalere | PIN Literary Interviews”

Leave a Reply