Behind the Scenes with Philosophical Poet Emmanuel Akaolisa
I was immersed with a poem I was typing when in a flash I saw my twin sister beside me, trying to read my work.
She agreed but as she left she casually said, “You can put them together and publish them, some people do.”
That was the first time the thought of publishing my poems ever entered my mind, just for that brief moment. I had to come back to the thought nearly three years later, when I was finally ready. But then, a question that begs for answer is this; why would someone have a lot of writings stored without intending to publish them to public view?
So when I considered putting up a collection of poems for publication, I had to decide what kind of poetry it would contain – as I had hundreds of them already. It was then I decided they would be poems everyone could relate to; ones with deep philosophical ideas. This led me to coin the word poesophy i.e. deep philosophical poetry or philosophy through poetry. Initially I planned to incorporate my word into the title, but it was perhaps a little too abstract so I left it out, settling on Sometimes a Poet & the Peace of Wisdom.
Though I do not understand some poems which I come across (this makes me doubt if I am a poet), I love poetry for how it can say all that a novel can in fewer words and in a song-like pattern that makes a person subconsciously remember many parts effortlessly through catchy phrases. You see, I used to be a very lazy reader who wouldn’t even bother reading for exams in school – I thought attending lectures was enough to pass any exam. 😉
I cannot accurately pinpoint a particular process of my writing poetry but it begins with the inspiration, moves to the formation of words to their structuring. I could be inspired by what I see in the public, by watching a bird fly, and even by eating tasty food. Then the phrases keep coming to my mind, often with a natural adherence to rhythm – metre and rhyme – and this made me turn ideas and stories which could have been written as novels into poems.
I discover that a person is basically a poet in mind, and with this we find poets who do not know that they are poets. That still does not change the fact that a person is first a poet in mind before becoming a poet on paper. The observations and thoughts of a poet take a different pattern when compared to non-poets. All writers can expand an issue, but it is poets who significantly compress expanded ideas or notions. One major lesson I have learnt through compiling my poetry book comes from a friend of mine. Quite simply, he told me he didn’t understand some of my poems. I have always thought myself to be a poet for the masses – one who makes it simple for all to understand. So now, I go through some of them again and discover that part of a truth might be unconsciously lost in another’s world, so I must consciously make them simple as possible to attain my goal.
This book betrays the individualism of poetry. Spilling ink sparingly, it touches with a scalpel’s precision on age-long issues in such way that willing minds will soak it up with gauzy-ease. It is for ‘poets’ who may not comprehend anything except through poetry, like soldiers who cannot know music except through the rhythms of gunshots. Really, beyond metaphor, sometimes poetry can be engineering, medicine or battlegrounds; but a poet is always human. The poems here look at the deepest motives behind what humans do (knowingly or unknowingly). They show how we search for things endlessly as we are pushed by unseen forces. The book speaks on comfort and consolation even in the face of what looks like loss. It talks of nature and, importantly, peace within one’s self and relationships with others.
POET, PEACE TALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST, & PHILOSOPHER
Emmanuel Chukwuebuka Akaolisa is a graduate of Political Science and has a Masters degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy, both from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Novel is a word that scares him, but not newspapers and magazines. He hopes that one day we will look for trouble and not find it as most of his poems speak of peace and peace. He spends his leisure playing ping pong or watching live soccer games.
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