"Jumoke Verissimo is the second of the three most recent residents we’re interviewing. The Lagos-born poet lives and writes in Ibadan. Her poetry collection, I Am Memory, is one of the definitive texts of contemporary Nigerian poetry. In this interview, she tells us about her stay at Ebedi, gives us her take on poetry in Nigeria, and dishes on her two stray cats. Enjoy!"
Read on here: Brittlepaper
"The Prairie Schooner literary journal is excited to announce that our Winter 2014 issue will feature a poetry portfolio centered on the theme of Women and the Global Imagination, guest-edited by Alicia Ostriker. If you have work that you would like considered for this issue, send up to five pages of unpublished poems and/or prose poetry, along with your contact information and a 3-line bio, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What would fit? Anything with an international dimension, or that engages in some way with the world we live in. We look forward to reading what you come up with!
Many thanks for your kind words and encouragement on my
writing. I do appreciate the emails and messages on social media asking me why
I have you not published a new book since 2008:
Here is my answer: I have not published a new book in the
past years, because publishing indeed is serious business—especially if
you have unusual vision. These past years, I have completed work on a collection
of poems, a novel and a collection of interconnected short stories. I worked
once as a copywriter in an advertising agency, and was always told you're as
good as your last copy. Why I do not think I can get to the root of my reader’s
dreams for the perfect book, I can look back at a book I have written and see
the dream of perfection in it. I believe my reader can see that too, because
they would know I worked towards that.
So, between editing and exploring publishing opportunities; and
making sure my old book has some relevance while my dreams are accomplished, I
have been working.
If you’re yet to own a copy of my collection of poems, it is
available on Amazon website:
It is rather
late for anyone to pretend that the internet is absolutely unnecessary. It is a lifestyle now. And it has become the source for expanding the
terms of literature into an instant response platform.
I won't discuss if that is positive or negative at this time. Rather, I think it is a necessary course for the arts in general.
Here and there on the internet are stories of how to enable
possibilities of internet publishing and social media interactions.
post is more about a poem I’m showcasing for the month. The poem affords us to see the aesthetics of the interaction on social media. The poet interrogates the ‘physical’ discourse
which the social media uproots on different levels.
I have one collection of poems: I am memory, and a lot of unpublished ones on my computer. The first book got me some awards, new friends, travel opportunities to some of the biggest poetry festivals in the world: Struga and The Norwegian Festival of Literature/Sigrid Undset. Then some good, good persons asked to translate some of poems into Italian, Norwegian, French, Japanese, Chinese, and Macedonian. I write short stories too when I can and I have attempted a novel. Some of my works have appeared in anthologies and journals like Daughters of Eve and Other New Short Stories From Nigeria, African Sexualities (A Reader) ed. Sylvia Tamale, Poetry from Five Continents (2010), Livre d’or de Struga (Poetes du monde, sous le patronage de l’UNESCO). 2011 (Paris), Migrations (Afro-Italian) Wole Soyinka (ed.) and many others. I lived in Lagos with my parents, now I live in Ibadan with my man and two stray cats.
“Jumoke Verissimo’s poetic voice is imbued with a consciousness of African history and an awareness of the socio-economic realities of modern Nigeria with its legacy of colonial plunder, its pathetic attempts at self-governance and the brutality of its military dictatorships. she balances the despair she sees all around her with a degree of stubborn hope and an enchanting lyricism which echoes the style of oral African poetry.” - Funso Aiyejina (Critic, Poet and Professor of Comparative Literature)