This is the fifth in a series of interviews featuring the seven OAU alumni who put together Sandstorms in June. You can download the anthology here.
Tobi Adebowale is an aspiring author and lawyer. His short stories were published in a 2014 collection titled ‘Wobbled Words’ edited by ‘Debayo Coker and available at Patabah bookstore. His poems have appeared in different editions of Saraba and he has had opinion articles published in a number of national newspapers and on blogs. He contributed to Sandstorms in June.
AA: What does poetry mean to you?
TA: Poetry for me is the sum of emotions channelled through words, a sweet way to say a lot to someone without boring them, a gentle caress that often leaves its recipient without a choice but to yield.
AA: What does OAU mean to you?
TA: OAU is a bed of roses and unlike the popular one people imagine, it actually comes with thorns. The beauty however is in mastering how to leave with the most colourful harvest and least pricking from the thorns. OAU gave me that chance to be me in as many ways as I wanted and I enjoyed every bit of it. That came with some necessary sacrifice of time and convenience but the confidence it produced in one's ability, worth and experience is invaluable.
AA: What inspires you to write poetry?
TA: Life and thoughts about our diverse experiences inspire me. Sometimes, the words form with a deliberate intent to solidify a memory or an imagined event but at other times, they come riding on the waves of a hearty discourse with some friends, God’s wonderful creations blessed with pulchritude and a sense of appreciation for beautiful sentences.
AA: I'm guessing you had Mr Uwazomba for LIT 101. Did you write 'We Had What We Had' then? Or his metaphors stayed with you beyond Part 1?
TA: Yes, Mr Uwasomba's metaphors stayed with me right from the first encounter with him in LIT 101 classes till my final year when I wrote the poem 'We Had What We Had'. Beyond that however, he was readily available throughout my time in OAU when I needed him to speak at a book reading for instance or grade a writing competition I organised. I have fond memories of him.
AA: ‘Sunny Days’ and ‘We Had What We Had’ seem to be personal poems. Did you mine your emotions/experiences for the poems or did you work from fictitious scenarios?
TA: I mined my experience for ‘Sunny Rain’ and it is indeed a very personal poem. It was the depiction of a real occasion and true emotions. ‘We Had What We Had’ on the other hand was pure fiction, more of an antithetical experiment after writing Sunny Rain.
AA: What are you working on at the moment?
TA: I am presently working on a novel, hopeful it gestates fully before the 3rd quarter of the year but more immediately I am compiling a number of sonnets for release in a personal chapbook sometime in February. On the side, I maintain a biweekly opinion column with Nigeria's premier blogazine i.e, olisa.tv. I also have a Law/Technology project in the works.
Tobi Adebowale blogs here. You can follow him on twitter via @tobiBowale.