Dami Ajayi launched his sophomore poetry collection A Woman’s body is a Country in Lagos on March 10, 2018. Here is a report from the commercial capital of the West African country.
It was a time of pomp and pageantry at Subterranea, the concept boutique and bar at Ilupeju where Nigerian poet Dami Ajayi launched his second volume of poems, A Woman’s body is a Country.
Starting 30 minutes behind the stipulated time, the launch began with a live music performance by the soulful musician Celeste before the convener, Ms Safurat Balogun invited Kola Tubosun, the moderator of the conversation, on stage to introduce the multi-talented doctor, poet, and music critic who was also happened to be celebrating his birthday.
Published by Ouida Books as its flagship poetry collection in their Poetry Series, A Woman’s Body is a Country has been well received by both the critical and mainstream crowd since its release late 2017. In a recent review by writer and culture critic, IfeOluwa Nihinlola stated, “The poet seems to flit between lovers, across cities and countries, with the virility of a young man confident that time is on his side. Only in death or heart break—which is also a kind of dying—does he realize the value of what is lost. His are not poems written to serenade lovers. Rather they’re the exit notes of a retiring bachelor”.
The event was well attended by the general public as well as bigwigs in the Nigerian creative scene. In attendance were Odia Ofeimun, Bayo Lamikanra, Toni Kan, Efe Paul Azino, Adenrele Sonariwo, Anwuli Ojogwu, Eromo Egbejule, Emmanuel Iduma and so many others. The event was supported by Black Towers who provided vintage wine.
Dami Ajayi, who works as a specialist in Mental Health spoke about his earliest attempts at writing. He said: “The story of how I started writing is the story of a magazine. I wrote a rubbish essay, gave it to someone who gave it to his mother who suggested we start a magazine. I wrote a few poems for the magazine. I wish I could find them. But they’re lost to time.” He also talked about starting Saraba Magazine in 2008 with Emmanuel Iduma while in University at Ile-Ife.” He also spoke about the interesting reactions of readers to his book, particularly the title, which has roused the curiosity of readers.
After the conversation, the celebrant and author proceeded to cut his Birthday Cake designed like his book cover which features original art by Victor Ehikhamenor.
Dami Ajayi is currently on a book tour. Catch him on the 23rd of March at Bar Beach Towers, Lagos and on the 28th of March in Accra, Ghana.
Here are a few images from the launch.