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Centre stage Clem Olaniyi


1. May we know you?

. A poet. Philosopher. Novelist. Orator. Farmer.

  1. When did you develop a love of poetry?
    As long as I can remember. Perhaps the age of 14.

  2. What has been the reception from your contemporaries on your poems?
    . Encouraging. They love and cheer for my style of writing. Some have my poems hung as mnemonics on their walls. That’s quite impressive and humbling for me

  3. What type of poetry do you favor?
    . All types. I write about anything. Everything. All things.

  4. Please share with us a bit about what you write about and why?
    . I write about life in general, even death. Talk about love, music, just anything. I’m always inspired to write at all times. Even at moments of grief and times of wild cheers I’m game on

  5. Have you had any of your poems published formally?
    . No. Not yet. Working on it definitely. I’ve had few suggestions and some offers to present my work for UNICEF in helping African children

  6. Do you think poetry can be used to change an attitude?
    . Surely, yes! Poetry is a way of life. Even every breath we take is hewn in poetry. Poetry is life. With poetry, a dirge can turn into a wild happy ballad. I just can’t be imaging life and nature without beautiful, orchestrated pieces of poetry in it. But to know what it is, you must feel it. If you’re not swinging in, you can’t mediate it.

  7. How often do you write?
    . Very often. It could be anywhere at anytime. Several times I’d wake up in the middle of the night to write. It could come by things I observe on the roadside, market, children, even the flowers. Just think of anything I’m there
  8. Share your dreams.
    Just a little I’d share. To see my name etched on the pillars of history. To create an awareness and help people realize their dreams. To help people know that poetry is not an odious thought or activity. Without poetry all forms of endeavors in life become vegetative
  9. When you look at your environment, do you see poetry gaining some level of recognition or popularity?
    We are a bit short on that right now in Nigeria of today, but we are getting “relocated” into feeding those who are bereft of it. So I believe someday, it will hold ground again. Those of old were taught with poetry. That’s why they still edge above newer guys of now. That’s why nothing exceptional has been well noticed because we are sold to a life of mundane activity devoid of creativity.

  10. What do you think of young poets liking the spoken word as a form of protest or expression
    .They yearn for fulfillment. They know that’s the only language the core of all hearts feeds on. They know a drop of water can suddenly become an ocean with poetry.

  11. Please tell us about your favorite poets, old and young
    William Shakespeare. Prof. Wole Soyinka. Those are ones still touching the strings and stirrings of my heart

  12. Which poet has had the most influence on you?
    William Shakespeare
  13. How do want to be evaluated by your peers and society?
    A phlegmatic Astute Observer. I am a clinical realist…I am evermore an alchemist of positivity, an adherent of an austere life. A man blessed with so much to offer but few of interests to be shared, who, when others don’t, does see promises in your eyes, the spark smoldering in your breasts, giving it tinder to see your soul ignites to passion
  14. Thank you coming on Centre stage
    It’s a great pleasure ma’am.

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Chants in my dreams

LIVING IS GIVING

It is only in giving
of your love
that you understand hate.
It is only in giving
of your understanding
that you comprehend envy
It is only in giving
of your compassion
that you know pain
It is only in giving
of your service
That you teach selflessness.

The book of life
teaches all that
care to look through
It’s sustaining pages
as one garners through
all our painful ages
that if we fain wish
to return to the lit
gardens of our beginnings
we must make our pinnings
rest on the crock of
these life-sustaining teachings
never to but learn
the greatest gift of light.

Gave to all its creatures
that gift that all creatures
stand as mirrors to our faults.

If we must thus understand
this as we experience
we will in truth
give gratitude to Him
in the weaving of the Loom
we stand against the boon
when we hesitate to return
in full measure received
the everlasting love
of the Father Almighty.

Now available inthe collection Chants in my dreams at biolaephesus.com

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Chants in my dreams

You can now purchase Chants in my dreams from my website biolaephesus.com
It is an ebook of my first publishedcollection in 1997. Most people who know me are aware of my love for poetry.
Let me share a few of the collections to see if I can interest you.
I WISH I CAN FLY
I wish I can fly
so that I might try
to learn to understand
from that height; my stand

I wish I can walk
so that all my talk
will thence be my progress
towards all I might profess

I wish I can pray
that I might not fall prey
to all that tries to trap
even as I evade their grab.

I wish I can trust
that all that are human,
actually carry gifts of man,
exercising all that is just.

I wish all these wishes
that even all the witches
have a hectic time fulfilling
all these impossible pinnings

THE LIBERIAN WAR
The war in Liberia
came one day to stay
at our breakfast table
father picked his gun
with shinning eyes we
heard mama tell of
father’s show of valour
to bring to brothers unknown
the gift of a doubtful peace.

The war in Liberia
blessed our hope with
the arrival of Lollita
the war-front soon changed
our shinning faces dimmed
for the cracking guns
and the cannon roar
of the ricocheting words
of the battle fierce
between Father and Mother
pitched us as losers all.

TRUE BEAUTY OF MAN
A man’s true beauty
is not outward alone,
skin-deep beauty
may mask an ugly mien
that unveiled stuns and repels.

True beauty of the soul
lives and lingers
like a fragrant rose
Welcoming and satisfying.

A man’s first breath
is his first contract
with Good and Evil
to decide for himself
the exercise of which
he might use all his life.

Compassion of the spirit
is like a golden nugget
like a running brook
through the rivers of life
a kaleidoscope of his
fortunes and losses
gain or lose he
makes an investment on the
quality of his life.

A selfless man
is like a rare bird
that flits through life
touching everything with
his healing touch.

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Poetry my love

Sounds funny when I say that. But I am always awed when I read poetry. There is a trend in my country these days, the spoken word. But, I wonder why it took us such a long time. When I came down south from the North, one of the things I enjoyed was listening to my grandmother render poetry in her soft musical voice. It was a way of life for her, she was a priestess of the loving kind. She would greet the day, the morning and whatever issue she had could be resolved with poetry. Most times I didn’t understand the words,but always felt the rhythm.

When I gotto secondary school, myteachers almost took the love of poetry away from me with the constant attention to rhymes and such stuff. I found myself needing to look for words that ryhmed and I felt I lost the spontaneity of the words as they came to me. I enjoyed myself though by simply ignoring that and wrote from the heart. The words would bubble out of me and I would just write.

My first ever published work was a collection of poems I called CHANTS IN MY DREAMS. I have been taking a look at the book, that was some twenty years ago and I still found the poems spoke to me even now. I am making an ebook of it and would like to invite you to visit my website to read some of the poems and if you love them enough to order for the ebook. The ebook should be ready by the end of the month or earlier.
Would like to share with you and who knows might learn a thing or two from you if you post your thoughts back on the website.
Here are just two from the 130+ pages.
WAKE UP
Wake up quickly
greet the dawn
in gratitude for
your life

Wake up happy
see the sun
the gifts of love
to make hay
all your life

Wake up laughing
hear the birds
join the choir
of angels in heaven
with the industry
of your life

Wake up grateful
watch the earthworm
sow through all
you do, your expectations
through Him
of the gift of Eternity
for your spirit

STOKING MY STROKES
There are different strokes
so my mama said
when I tried to stoke
the fires of life.
listen son, she said
one stroke for each prayer
one stroke for each desire
mayhaps success will reach

So now I am stroking,
an angle tilted toward luck
the lady with the capricious smile
a prayer also,
that while thus stroking,
fate bored with his lady luck
will fling her smiling into my
waiting arms.
has life ever been won
with so much strokes.?

Looking forward to you exploring anddropping your comments.

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Miranda on Centre stage

I always thought that the fastest way to express yourself was through poetry. I grew up listening in awe to dirges, Ijala, and such. Half of it went over my head because of the language but I was always held spell bound by the rhythm and tone. I always love poetry so I had the distinct pleasure of wanting to put Miranda on Centre stage when I learned she had just published a book and it was poetry! Let’s meet her

Congratulations on your book, and welcome to Centre Stage
Thank you! It’s my pleasure to be here.

May we know you?
I am Miranda Ese Ogboru ( Née Omeben ). A Nigerian from Edo State.
I studied Applied Arts and Education though I never taught in a school.
My interest now lies in creative writing, composing songs and discovering the healing powers of Nature. I am blessed with four wonderful children and one grand daughter

Looks like your first foray is poetry, why is that?
I have always loved reading poetry however, I started writing in the 90’s. I never imagined that I would end up publishing my works. But that changed when family and friends kept urging me to share this gift with the world. I started featuring my poems on a couple of Poetry platforms, then gradually the “adventure” developed into a desire that led to the birth of MY LOOM OF MANY COLOURS.

How do you find the Nigerian literary scene?
The Nigerian literary scene is evolving. It’s been a long journey right from the days of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, J.P. Clark and a host of others. We have seen the emergence of our indigenous literature and other forms of creative writing. It is so heart-warming to have the likes of Chimamanda who has become a force to reckon with internationally. We now have Poetry events that attract a fairly impressive turn-out in major Nigerian cities. A literary awareness seem to be spreading. More people are exploring their writing abilities under the umbrella of various literary societies and platforms. We may not have reached our desired goal … No, not yet! But I can safely say that we are forging ahead and gradually spreading a writing/ reading culture among the people especially the youths.

What motivates you in the things you write
My motivations are derived from what writing is to me. Writing for me is therapeutic. Sometimes it is purgative. Sometimes it is an escape route. Sometimes the motivation could just be a burning desire to share from deep within. Other times, the sheer ecstasy I derive from sweet moments with my muse is just enough motivation. Basically, my purpose I my motivation.

The spoken word as a form of interactive poetry is begining to trend in the country, how familiar are you with this?
Spoken word poetry! I love it. This type of poetry has been has with us for a long time … If you consider the fact that RAP is spoken word. I understand that RAP is an acronym for Rhythm And Poetry. These days, I hear of “grand slam” open mic competition etc. I must say it is challenging to commit poems to memory for me. I admire those who do so as long as they have a worthy message for their audience. Some just rant profane and degrading lines. Ideally, spoken word is a great way to reach out with noble messages. We certainly can do with all the spoken word we can get as long as the message is uplifting.

When did you start liking poetry?
I have always loved poetry … Right from the days of “Pussy cat, Pussy cat.” But truly I fell in love with Poetry when it dawned on me that it is a medium through which I can reach out.

What will you advise the younger generation about any form of literary appreciation?
There is the need for the younger generation to read as wide as possible. They should familiarize themselves with grammar as it should be, idiomatic expressions, figures of speech and the art of writing. They should be open to correction. Without these, one would be completely lost in the world of literature. Some people just write and call for a standing ovation, no critiquing, no correction. It is a wrong mind-set. They would always be out of touch with the rudiments of literature let alone it’s mastery or appreciation.

Share a normal day with us?
By nature I’m not a rigid person. So my normal day could be hectic or relaxing. I always start the day with prayers and meditation. Then my herbal tea or just warm water ritual follows. I am really lazy at exercising but then, I try to do a bit of stretching here and there then some tappings for energy flow, then clean up starts. I try to make my meals mostly Ketogenic to keep my weight and my sugar levels down. Thereafter I attend to whatever task I am scheduled for or whatever my hands find to do – writing, networking, attending to my grand daughter and a host of other things. My day has become very flexible since I disengaged from office work.

Where can we get copies of your book?
At the moment, MY LOOM OF MANY COLOURS is to be found on Amazon and can be downloaded on Kindle. In a short while, we are hoping to have hard copies which would be at bookshops.

Any comments or views you will like to share
In a world where a lot of music that is being churned out lacks educative or inspirational content, I honestly wish that more writers would write meaningful lyrics for songs or collaborate with singers. For instance, It was quite refreshing to hear Beyonce use lines of Chimamanda’s work in her song. Writers should be aware that whatever they write would outlive them and so must be very careful of the message they leave behind for future generations.

Thank you for coming on centre stage
Here is my take
THE PASSAGE
A door closes
And another opens!
When at death the eyes close
Then at birth, they open
As sure as day follows night.
Indolently, they say ‘It all ends here.’
But No! Onwards further!
Death here, birth yonder.
We do live when we leave here
As sure as day follows night.
When the Intellect slumbers
In the world of dreams
When brain matter ceases to be
In the belly of the earth
Downwards or upwards you continue to journey
As sure as day follows night.

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Learning Lessons

Hello everyone,
I am sharing my fortieth year as a writer. It was a bit surprising when my husband noted thatthis year makesit the fortieth year of my writing experience.
So I had to ask myself a few questions. what has been my experience. I live in a country where the reading culture had been bastardised.
What have I achieved in all the 40 years? Is it worth celebrating?
Given the country I live in,I have grown a lot, my writing skills has improved. In recognition of that length of time, I changed the look of my website. made a conscious effort to reflect on what has moved me through the years.
I am bit surprised to note that I have always been socially conscious, from my romantic plays, to my detective series as well as so many other stories. I even wrote horror stories which recently changed forms to religious and fantasy.
I have published quite a number of novels, poetry and produced plays.
I am musing today and will share in the weeks to come my stories, rationale and lessons learned.Meanwhile let me share this with you
TREAD SOFTLY

Don’t get lost
In the weft of threads
Don’t swim west
From the heat of sweat
Don’t make mounds
From life’s hounds
Search through the chaff
From the flowing stream
Each clap of thunder
Each sighing hiss
Of the fierce lightning
Evidence of streaming light
Follow the rainbow stream
And friend, you’ll be home.