Exclusive Interview With Ejiro Elizabeth
Tell us, what inspired your poem “Reparations”?
I was inspired by the events happening in Nigeria over the years. The most significant that struck me was the End Sars protest. I felt the need to disarm the poem of violence, hence the opening line:
“ There are no guns in this poem”.
It was a form of reflection beyond the struggles of Nigerians. Looking beyond our shores, the year 2021 was a year of a massive Black movement that followed after the death of George Floyd.
These events across the world birthed Reparations.
Everyone has a story. How did you pick interest in writing?
As a child, I was a vivacious reader. I remember reading “ Boy on a swing” in secondary school. And “The sun on this rubble” is one beautiful poem I’ll never forget.
I didn’t know about my ability to write until I finished secondary school. And it was poetry that came easily to me. Poetry was a means of escaping from myself–to write out my pain and struggles. The things I couldn’t tell people, I told them through poetry.
Who are your favorite African poets and why?
It takes certain guts to write and not just write but to write your truth fiercely and that is what I aim to do when writing. One person who reflects this is Romeo Orogun. He is one of my favorite African poets and of course, he’s Nigerian.
My dearest poet is Warsan Shire of Somalia descent. I fell in love with Warsan shire and how she was able to infuse the art of storytelling into poetry. When I read her, I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
Elizabeth, do you have a favorite place to write?
The way I think about it, it’s not about the place but more about the time.
I love to write in the dead of the night. When I can process all my thoughts. But if I were to pick a place to write. It would be by the beach and of course in the comfort of a beach house.
Honestly, I do not think I have a favorite place to write. As soon as a poem comes, I write 🙂
As a young writer, where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
In a year or two, I earnestly desire to be doing my MFA in Creative Writing. I would love to be a Professor sharing my knowledge with the next generation.
Reparations By Ejiro Elizabeth Edward
There are no guns in this poem,
no black bodies on the floor
or hands hallelujah-ing to the sky,
only black skins singing in complementary keys
& these are my people,
Whose tongues have been rolled with a language that lurks in dark alleys, beats up our mother-tongue & rifles through other languages claiming them as vocabularies
Whose sunshine laughter falls out of their tongue,
Whose tongues are wrapped in loss,
Yet unwrapping it with love like moi-moi leaves,
& these are my people of leathered skin
Of Oshun energy
Made of water, made of gin,
Of blood sprinkled to Orisha
Of waist beads from Yoruba
& these are my people with no laid edges,
of dreaded hair , of black tits , of shriveled hair ,
of dancing brown eyes,
Children of blood & bones.
Find her on Twitter: Ejiroedward552
Instagram: Ejiro Elizabeth Edward.
By Elijah Christopher