As part of a blog tour featuring Tolu’ A. Akinyemi, the Nigerian poet whose most recent poetry collection is Dead Dogs Don’t Bark agreed to answer five questions.
Dead Dogs Don’t Bark is the second poetry collection from Tolu’ A. Akinyemi. The poems speak to all age groups as they feature finding your inner talent, celebrating your individuality and distinct voice. His first collection was called Dead Lions Don’t Roar. Here are his answers to five of our questions.
Do you consider yourself a poet to be read or a poet to be seen performing?
I love the art of performance poetry and I am always happy my audience can connect to my words whenever I am on stage. So I tick both boxes, I am a performance poet as well as a poet to be read. I also think poets need to evolve, I have had poets say to me, I only read but I do not perform my poems. My thinking is if you can read it, then you can also give life to that poem by performing it.
This is your third publication. Did you ever consider that you would be writing poetry professionally?
Dead Dogs Don’t Bark is my second collection and third book, I never knew I would get to a point where I will be writing books professionally even though I still deem the writing journey as a hobby as I have a career and business interest that takes most of my time. So writing books professionally is a dream come true for me.
What has been the highlight of your poetry career so far?
Performing Poetry at The Playhouse Whitley Bay United Kingdom in June 2018 to over Six hundred people, that was a major milestone for me in my poetry career.
Poetry for many people is shining a light on their inner lives with more innovative and evocating texts than in prose and other written forms. Your poems seem to follow the motivational side that urges people to move harder in one direction. Aren’t you worried that this might be taken in the same way that motivation (and prosperity) preaching has become with Christianity?
The theme line of my poetry books is to inspire a generation of people to believe in themselves, my writing keeps evolving and the aim is to help people discover their unique roar, bark, and spark. We have so many creatives who are in the shadow and their voices may never be heard. I hope that my story inspires people to believe in themselves and put their own gift and talent to productive use. I don’t preach prosperity through my books, my theme lines are drivers to help people believe in themselves and leave positive imprints on the sands of time.
What are the poets that have influenced your writing be they African or from further afield?
I would say I practice a kind of mix and match poetry, where I would read from a Jess Green, Rupi Kaur, or R.H Sin. However, it might be correct that I have been positively influenced by a lot of emerging Authors in the African Literary space. I have a large collection of books in my library, which I tend to read from time to time. Also, I tend to listen to Fela’s song and this has been helping the revolutionary side of my writings in my upcoming collection as I believe I can be a voice to inspire the generation next and also talk about the ills in our society through my books.