Alawonde Femi, from Oyo, Nigeria, was shortlisted for the Babishai 2017 haiku prize. He fell in love with the haiku after reading the 2016 shortlisted haijins. He is now part of the big and loving haiku family. If his Babishai 2017 haiku submission were food, it would be pounded yam, he says.
Why drew you to participate in the Babishai 2017 haiku prize?
I submitted because of the love I have for a form of haiku brewing here in Africa: Afriku.
Do you have a particular personal story with haikus?
I got to know about Babishai Niwe Poetry Competition in 2016. Then, I submitted to the long poetry section. I am glad to say that Babishai Niwe Poetry Shortlist was my first encounter with haiku. I read the interview of the shortlisted haijins and the shortlist, and fell in love with haiku. I had this desire to try it, so I went online and researched. I first stuck to the traditional seventeen lines, then I met Mr. Adjei on Facebook, sent him some of my works, and hecommented. He also clarified matters. I would be ungrateful If I fail to mention Mr. Kalusian, who tutored me online and My Haiku Pond Academy. I feel drawn towards Mr. Adeleke, and the way he crafts his haikus wow me. Haiku brings out the observant spirit in me, and it has brought me in contact with a lot of great and wonderful haijins all over the world. The haiku family is a big and loving one.
What do you feel about the 2017 shortlist in general?
When I saw the shortlist, I was short of words. The mere fact that what happens in Ghana relates to what happens in Kenya, and that I re-experience the childhood I had in Nigeria by reading a haiku from Zambia, shows that indeed Afriku portrays the oneness of Africa. Each haiku on the shortlist is beautiful on its own, and I find it hard to pick a favourite.
What motivation do poets need, to keep writing, in thisRidiculously competitive world that vies for their attention?
I believe poets need passion and perseverance, these is what drives me.
If your haiku were a food, what would it be?
Pounded yam of course! I don’t toy with it.
Read his two shortlisted haikus here:
vultures rush to the kill
an owl hoots
we rush to papa’s bed
We at Babishai, congratulate him again. The winners will be announced at the #Babishai2017 Poetry Festival dinner on Sunday 6 August at Humura Resort, Kitante Close. Cards are on sale at 40,000/- Call +256 703147862. The full festival programme is here.
The full winning haikus are here: