YELF Literary Evening with Daisy Odey

August 31st, 2019 from past 4pm till 6pm under grey skies at Creativity Court (No. 21, Mallam Isa Hassan Road, Ungwan Dosa, Kaduna State), I enjoyed delightful poetry and conversations.

L-R: Shittu Fowora, Daisy Odey

Daisy Odey is a Nigerian poet and performer from Jos, Nigeria. Her poems have appeared in AkĂ© Review, Kalahari Review, Enkare Review, Saraba Afridiaspora, Praxis Magazine’s International Women’s Day Anthology 2017, and other publications. She has performed poetry across Nigeria. She is also initiator/team lead Jos Poetry Slam (JSP) movement and cofounder, Custodians of African Literature (COAL). Connect with her on Instagram.

And so I’m asking.

I’m asking, where is heaven?

Heaven is where rainbows begin and end

in a river of glass

-Once Upon a Time performed by Daisy Odey

On Poetry and Writing by Daisy

  • Daisy says she doesn’t write in a place of intense emotion because she will have a jumble to come back to whenever. I’ve noticed this jumble with some of my story drafts. So I write, leave them and come back.
  • I don’t force a poem.
  • Writing doesn’t belong to Africans alone. If its dying, we are killing it. African writers give the pulse of their reality
  • Feminism is a verb and not a noun. “I was my mother’s daughter before I wore my father’s name.”Feminist, Fragments In A Closet
  • I write creative nonfiction, essays or short stories to explore new themes. Then, can I write these in poetry.
  • The only way to learn how to write is by writing. The only way to know what to write about is to read and read.

Tongues tied with grief forget the language of prayer.

Heavy hearts do not carry love.

Some questions are always hungry,

like:

“Is there a god worthy of war?”

Fragments, Fragments In a Closet

Book Chat and Spoken word

Shittu Fowora, the book chat convener, asked questions about writing, the chapbook’s themes and creativity. His questions gave Daisy the opportunity to give unique answers. He also talked about how drawn he was to the quote from Ben Okri (If you look too closely, everything breaks your heart) in Body Count. He asked her about the reoccurrence of Water and reference to Oshun in her chapbook. She said she simply wrote and later found out Oshun— Yoruba goddess of feminity, creativity, love– was connected to water.

Water saturates Odey’s text; water is in titles–“How to Make A River”, “Life Is Water”, “Falling for a River”–water is in the theme, subject matter, character, and narrative development, and of course, in the imagery.

-Hope Wabuke, from Preface.

Her favourite poem is Peacemaker. She performed a version different from that in the book. I loved it! Check out Karatu Books to buy this book and other interesting books.

Besides, a part of Fragments she read out. Other poems she performed weren’t from her new chapbook. Daisy Odey is a known performance poet in Kaduna for some years. Shittu and the audience wanted some of her old poems like Murgag and Once Upon A Time.

Murgag would say we are Angels

We have wings buried within us

But like butterflies we must melt into those wings

We must die to fly ……..

-Murgag performed by Daisy Odey

Watch her applauded performances here..

Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation Library.

Did I mention heavy, windy rain fell before the book chat and just after it ended? It was fun grabbing our chairs off the lawn and running into and beside the building. Getting drizzled on made me giddy though. I also enjoyed poetry performances bytwo young women and two girls from the children creative writing workshop held earlier in the day.

I hope I have time to visit Creativity Court again before leaving Kaduna. If you’re interested a vibrant, engaging literary community in Kaduna. Every last Saturday of the month you can visit Creativity Court (address above) for meets!

Thanks for reading!

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