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(Left: Obe Keno, Right: Mr Taofeek)

You are welcome to Episode 18 of the YOUNG AND BOOKED SERIES.

Here with me today, is our guest. Meet Mr Akanbi Taofeek, a Nigerian writer who writes to make poetry appealing to everyone, young or old, black, brown, or white and to declare poetry free of the false accusation that poetry is only for intellectuals and academics!

He is going to answer a few insightful questions about himself, his journey and perspective as a young author/poet in Nigeria. You will definitely find this interview to be inspiring, entertaining and even educative, so please grab a seat and let’s get right into it!

Keno: (with smiles) Welcome to the YOUNG AND BOOKED Series Mr Taofeek, thank you for having this interview.

Mr Taofeek: (smiles) Thank you Keno, for having me as a guest on this amazing series. What you’re doing here is something special.

*pssst….Hey YOU reading this, thank you for joining us in promoting the Nigerian Book Industry!.

Keno: (smiles) Alright, I’ll get right into the questions we have for you today. Let’s start with this; What is a common misconception about Poets or poetry that you’ve encountered since you identified as a Poet?

Mr Taofeek: That poetry is a gift, and poets are gifted. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a “gift,” but only persistency and hard work. You only get more of what you give yourself to. If you give more of yourself to writing, you’ll become a better writer, and people will assume you’re gifted. If you give more of yourself to listening to speakers and giving speeches, you’ll become a better speaker, if you give more of yourself to sleeping, you’ll be good at it.

Keno: (nods) This is so true. I think a lot of people believe Poets have to be so talented and you know, “not ordinary”, perhaps thanks to historical big names like Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Wole Soyinka and so on. But in reality like you said, anyone can write poetry if they give themselves to it!…. Speaking of writing poetry, Question 2, What would be your number one piece of advice for someone who wants to start writing poetry but doesn’t know where to begin?

Mr Taofeek: (smiles) Here’s the secret formula to being a renowned author that many writers will not share with you: 1. Write! 2. Write! 3. Write! 4. Read X7! 5. Continue writing. Find your inspiration and just write! The reason most people don’t write is because they don’t know what to write about. Look for sources of inspiration in your surroundings (anything you can see right now, any animate or inanimate object), personal experiences, nature, relationships, emotions, or current events. Poetry can emerge from the simplest of observations or the most profound of reflections. Let your imagination and curiosity guide you. Write! Write! Write! READ! Then, after you’re done reading, read again! Then again, write! And keep the cycle going.

Keno: (nods) Hmmm, I don’t know about anyone else, but that inspired me! Question 3, Do you consider yourself primarily a poet, or do you write in other genres? If you do, what else do you like to write about?

Mr Taofeek: A poet is someone who possesses special powers of imagination or expression. Given that every poet is a writer, not every writer is a poet, I prefer the word “writer” to poet because I believe a poet does more than storytelling or article writing; he writes both stories and articles in a condensed yet rhythmic manner. Poetry is a deal of joy and pain, and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.” I have never met a soul who doesn’t love poetry. And yes, I write in other genres apart from poetry; I write articles, book reviews, scripts, and short stories. In fact, I am currently working on a novella.

Keno: (nods ) It’s interesting how you explain the concepts of poetry…. Question 4, Generally, a good number of people feel poetry is some complicated jumble of words that they usually struggle to comprehend. Do you think readers have to figure out the meaning of a poem, or should it be easy to understand?

Mr Taofeek: (smiles) There are different types of poems and poetry genres: lyric, sonnet, haiku, ballad, limerick, didactic. Each genre has its own style, pattern, word order, and diction. So not every poem is rigid or sophisticated. Some poets may employ complex metaphors, symbolism, or unconventional language, not all poetry is deliberately obscure or difficult to understand. There are countless poets who write in clear, accessible language, aiming to connect with readers on a deep emotional level. Poetry comes in various styles and forms, and not all of them require decoding or extensive analysis. But for me, today, tomorrow, and every day, I’ll always value and cherish poems with deep-rooted meanings that often require cogent thought to decipher. Isn’t poetry supposed to be simple, rhythmic, and enjoyable? Well! A poem can be simple, not sophisticated, rhythmic, not plain, and even enjoyed but not understood. So, you can taste and enjoy a poem without getting in touch with the core message. However, I believe that the success of a poem is defined by its ability to accommodate multiple interpretations. So, I write simple poems with rich meanings. If you read it once, you get one meaning; if you read it twice, you get two. An example:


I am in love with words

its beauty loosens the zip of my pen

it deflowers me and feign a pretense

it tickles the brain of my ink

and looks the other way

it caresses the pages of my skin

and moan softly into my ears

I’m in love with words,

the smiley face of pun

the shyness of simile

the audacity of hyperbole

the certainty of metaphor

the ambiguity of paradox

the squabble of oxymoron

the rhythm of onomatopoeia

the dreams of personification

the fear of euphemism

the nonsense of limerick

I am in love with beautiful words

those that drag my pen off the bed

down into the fury bliss

I’m in love with beautiful words

those that paint my face with a grin

they are like colorful butterflies

embellishing the walls of my skull

lighting up the stairways of my heart

pulling my jaw closer to my chest,

pouring saliva off my pinky lips at a mere glance

I’m in love with beautiful words

those that I feel worthless without them

those that their absence renders me naked

and when I reach for them

in the little boxes of my mind

and they are no where to be found

I go to my shelve and I bury my head

© Akanbi Taofeek

This is a poem from “HONEYED BUTTERFLIES” it is simple, rhythmic and sweet. Although it’s a writer’s confession of his love for poetry but the same poem can also be used by an artisan, an engineer or a lover by substituting some literary terms.

(Disclaimer: this is not a legal permission to copy, replace or substitute any part of the poem.)

Keno: (nods) I see that. Wow! I’ll admit I personally do not know very much about the world of poetry. Thank you, your reply is such an eye opener… Question 5, In your opinion, what’s the best/worst thing about being a poet?

Mr Taofeek: As a writer and a poet, I can tell you firsthand that there is nothing more difficult than having to consider your audience. When writing poetry, it is critical that you think carefully about how you want your words to be interpreted. To truly convey your message, the way you phrase things can make all the difference. For instance, you might find yourself wanting to write with a certain pattern or diction that seems complex, but because of your audience, you are compelled to choose a simpler approach instead. You might choose to share a poem about loss and grief, but adjust the language and tone to make the poem uplifting and inspiring for your audience. Of course, this consideration for an audience can also make your writing process difficult, you might get stuck between choosing a word that rhymes or a word that your audience will comprehend. You want to make sure that you don’t sound too stuffy and that you’re avoiding any grammar or spelling errors. Most importantly, you want your poem to resonate with your readers. It can be so hard to find a balance between staying true to yourself and writing for someone else. At the end of the day, being a poet is hard work, but it can also be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling forms of self-expression. So don’t let the thought of an audience keep you from pursuing your passion and fully expressing your creativity in whatever way best suits you. Poets are the doctors of emotion, and I think this is one of the best things about being a poet because it gives you the privilege and ability to better understand and interpret emotions. It also gives you the ability to express yourself creatively through language. Poetry allows you to explore emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a unique and often powerful way. It also allows you to connect with others who may share similar experiences or emotions, creating a sense of community and understanding. Poets have the ability to narrate a sad story humorously; we have the ability to preach annoying truths benignly and draw serenity off dreadful events.

Keno: (nods) So poetry is not totally a bed of roses, but it is worth it! Question 6, If you were to describe your Poetry book: “HONEYED BUTTERFLIES” using a poem, how would it go?

Mr Taofeek: In pages woven with ink’s delicate art,

A poetry collection, a tapestry to impart.

Words like rivers flowing, diverse and wide,

Topics embraced, a universe inside.

With elegance and grace, it traverses the earth,

Exploring themes of myriad worth.

From love’s tender bloom to sorrow’s sigh,

Each stanza, a portal to worlds nearby.

Behold the verses that dance in the light,

Stories untold, perspectives taking flight.

Culture’s rich tapestry, woven with care,

Voices rising, celebrating what’s rare.

Through vibrant metaphors and vibrant hue,

Unraveling mysteries both old and new.

A mosaic of emotions, layered and deep,

Where joy and anguish in harmony seep.

They speak of nature’s beauty, serene and grand,

Of ancient whispers whispered on sand.

Of triumphs won and battles fought,

Of dreams embraced and lessons taught.

It’s about time you clean your desk 

Tap a space bar in your bookshelf 

For honeyed butterflies is here to stay

From this day forward 

I’ll be in your eyes, ears,

Pillowcases and mugs 

I’ll travel down your nostril 

I’ll be in your head and belly 

When next you open your closet 

It’s me you’ll find 

I’ll be in your pockets

And the wallpapers on your screen

I’ll be your butterflies 

And I’ll be well honeyed

Keno: (smiles) So when I asked that question, I was literally thinking “the reply to this should be interesting” and it turned out to be! I may not know a lot about poetry, but I know enough to know that you’re an ingenious poet and this poem is excellent! Finally, Question 7, What have you been working on lately and what are you looking forward to in terms of your poetry writing?

Mr Taofeek: (smiles) I’m presently working on a memoir. I still don’t have enough to share at the moment. But my goal is to make poetry appealing to everyone, young or old, black, brown, or white. I want my pen to be able to reach for your hearts and make your minds gush. My goal is to serve myriads of honey with poetry, one lick at a time. My goal is to declare poetry free of the false accusation that poetry is only for intellectuals and academics and that poetry has to be complex and thought-provoking.

“Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.”

Dylan Thomas

Keno: I wish you great success as you undertake future endeavors. And I personally, will be following up on your journey. This was so inspiring. It was lovely to have you, Mr Taofeek. Thank you for this interview and for being our guest on the YOUNG AND BOOKED Series.

Mr Taofeek: (smiles) It was a pleasure to do this with you. Dear Readers, I would love to connect with you on Instagram.

Keno: Also, this is your invitation to join our Instagram community @taleofthebook if you aren’t already with us!. And you might want to check out Mr Taofeek’s book “HONEYED BUTTERFLIES”. It is honestly very affordable!

My goal is to make poetry appealing to everyone, young or old, black, brown, or white. I want my pen to be able to reach for your hearts and make your minds gush. My goal is to serve myriads of honey with poetry, one lick at a time. My goal is to declare poetry free of the false accusation that poetry is only for intellectuals and academics and that poetry has to be complex and thought-provoking.

-Author Taofeek

Did you like something? Did you learn something from reading this interview?. We’d love to hear it…Leave a comment below or SHARE with others (please do one of those)!. Sending you love as you do!♥️💐

Read about this book here

Thank you for reading YOUNG AND BOOKED Series 1: Episode 18. Each time you read, you are showing your support for the cause. See you in 2 weeks on the next Episode!.

*If this is your first time visiting this blog, please read more about the YOUNG AND BOOKED SERIES here…..

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Published by Obe Keno

Hi, I’m Keno🙋🏻‍♀️ ~ I’m a writer ~ I review/publicize books 📚 ~ I Interview YOUNG ADULTS in the 🇳🇬 Nigerian Book Industry ~ Currently studying psychology ~ Believer in Christ ♥️💐

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