My PoetrySpeaks Of Need To Engage Youths -Osaze | Independent Newspapers Limited
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My PoetrySpeaks Of Need To Engage Youths -Osaze

Posted: Jul 7, 2015 at 1:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Author of the poetry collection, Aroma of a Burning Bush, Samuel Osaze, has an uncanny passion for the arts and culture which is quite evident in his various engagements within the sector in Lagos and Port Harcourt over the past four years. His love for poetry is the spur behind all these leading him on to acquire his first and second degree in the same field of interest. In this interview with Yemi Adebisi, he threw more light into his vision, book and love for the arts. Enjoy it.

What informed the title of your new book?



The eponymous poem is drawn from my experience as a child in my hometown of Ohordua, Edo State. Poetry has been said to spring from the accumulation of the poet’s life journey. I’m a firm believer of this expression and with a strong predilection for poetry over all other literary genres, for that matter.

As individuals have variegated views of a particular event, for instance,  while ‘A’ perceives something odorous and disgusting, ‘B’ might be greeted with an aromatic flavour from the same source, so also is the circumstance surrounding the interpretation of any literary work, and narrowing it down to this premise,  Aroma of a Burning Bush . Variety is the spice of life, they say. Besides the metaphoric implication of this, literally speaking, the emission of the burning bush could be savoury depending on what is afire. As a toddler, I remember instances of bush burning that would ignite unquenchable hunger for food, bush-meat or even sedate you to sleep because of its near irresistible aroma. This happens at the expense of animal life or other living things anyway which are at the receiving end. Within a fleeting moment, treasures piled up over a long period of time by man or nature can be lost to the raging inferno.  Such is the consuming power of fire. No matter how precious the object, in a split second, a pristine beauty is lost forever leaving behind an indelible scar like the everlasting mark of lost virginity. While a minute percentage of the entire population plunder and glory in their looted booties, the majority bears the brunt of such selfish and inconsiderate action. In other words, the first group sniffs a fresh breath while the latter is condemned to bear the asphyxiating emission of the burning bush. Subsequently, the burning bush is akin to the events that transpire in the society and the perception is either aromatic or choking depending on the viewpoint.


What message are you trying to pass across to your target audience?

The central message revolves mainly around the state of monumental despair amongst a vast number of Nigerian youths who are faced with the herculean challenge of acquiring work experience with their own blood. Many are under-employed with a take home that can’t even take them home. Such emasculating happening has a negative impact in the long run on the psychology of the victim.  After passing through such deranging crucible, the youth eventual morphs into a psychologically inbalanced adult, numb to the reality. The aftermath of this is mental vacuum; a factor I reckon has contributed immensely to leadership irresponsibility on the continent. Don’t forget, the youths of today are the future leaders of tomorrow.


What precisely is your grouse as a young Nigerian artist to the leaders?

There are series of claims and counter claims, attacks and revenges in the rank and file of the ruling class such that  have spawned a thriving space for a widespread instability. The foremost grouse of a young Nigerian against the leaders cannot be more than their case of protracted unemployment. Insecurity  has also reared its ugly head of recent. Other challenges bedeviling us as a nation include greed, cupidity among other things. I reason, Nigeria as a heterogeneous nation needs well-oriented programs geared towards cultural integration. NYSC is never enough and has since derailed from its original vision. For now, I still feel a significant insularity and lack of awareness about the constituent tribes and this engenders a pronounced golf of difference especially that of the minority groups whose cultural uniqueness is often offensively submerged into those of the so-called big three. The practice of true federalism might augur well for this purpose.

The message is an exhortation to iron-steel resilience. On the whole, a great number of the poems reveal the extent of struggle for survival by the Nigerian youths, conveyed in the most forthright manner.  There is every need to persevere on their part, just as the mother-bed-bug told its young “whatever that is hot today will surely get cold.” The beauty is, even in the darkest of cloudy weathers, there is always the silver lining of hope attainable in this context through the courage to withstand these trying times. In the end, we all become heroes and heroines.

Can you discuss the segments you have put together in your book?

The different segments of the book are fused without visible boarders. According to one of the reviews of the book, in spite of the thematic variance, the collection is on the whole, organic. My passion for culture compelled me to make a foray into the vast pool of the cultural heritage of the Esan people most especially the poetic perspective of the Igbabonelimhin (dance of the spirits) dance festival.


What is the cutting edge of your book?

Like the saying attributed to Wole Soyinka “style is like a fingerprint.” My unique approach to poetry is what stands me out. Ordinarily, there is nothing new; however, the poet creates by making anew what already exists through a different manner. A good poem is that with deep imagery.


Who is your mentor author?

I don’t have a mentor per se but works of renowned poets like- Okigbo, Soyinka, Chinweizu, Imamu Amiri Baraka inspire me a great deal.