National Poetry Month Spotlight: Abayomi Animashaun

In the Other Nigeria

After elections, instead of gathering ballots and painting blue votes red. Paying to blot out opponents’ faces or marking them “X”

Politicians take balloons to each house. Sing nursery rhymes with children. Wink at lesbians. And drink with homosexuals.

They hang up their coats and join old men at farms. They rake gutters. Sweep yards. Take mortars from women, and pound yam.


Q: Where is your favorite place to write?

A: I’m drawn to quiet spaces. And moments when I can sit or lie idle for long periods of time.

Q: Do you remember the first poem you read that really blew your mind?

A: William Stafford’s “Traveling through the dark.”

I was particularly drawn to Stafford’s language and quiet intensity. I still am. Aside from Rilke and Elytis, I can’t think of another poet whose work has been more beneficial to me.

Q: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the last 12 months?

A: A wonderful trip to South Korea…

Abayomi Animashaun’s The Giving of Pears is available through Black Lawrence Press.

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