National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Kanyinsola Olorunnisola

Each day in April, in honor of National Poetry Month and our third anniversary issue (find out how to get a copy HERE), we are running an interview with a poet who has been published in Gyroscope Review. Read on.

National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Kanyinsola Olorunnisola

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month? Writing. And other things that keep me alive.

Pen, pencil or computer first? I could be terribly old-fashioned myself, but for the sake of ease and at the fortune of attaining a level of luxury, I prefer to use the computer.

Who/what are your influences? Souls which house music. They are the artists whose minds birth beauty and stories and magic. They are Junot Diaz, Lady Gaga, Frank Ocean, Darren Aronofsky, Anton Chekov, James Baldwin and Lana Del Rey. 

What topic is the hardest for you to write about and why? Death. I can sometimes get borderline-macabre but there is such a finality to the idea of death that I want it nowhere near my artistry. It is the exact opposite of that free-flowing perpetuity which art symbolizes for me.

What was the worst writing idea you ever had? Rewriting Romeo and Juliet as a 23rd century Afro-futuristic dystopian fantasy. I can’t believe I once had any form of interest in this. But child-like as my artistic impulses can be, I could just change my mind and decide to work on it tomorrow. 

What authors do you love right now? Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

What is the most important role of poets in 2018? In the era of political thuggery and institutionalized tyranny, the pen is the best way to speak truth to power. Poets should write against the system and for those who do not want to be so overtly political (no one should be pressured to being so). I believe the way poets can rebel is to engage in brutish, unashamed expressions of self. I believe, in those very diverse expressions of selves, the world can be made more colorful in the post-Trump and post-Buhari eras.

Where do you go when you need to recharge? The Internet. It possesses billions of stories, of people, of cultures. I get energized by the pure electricity of untold stories. Being someone who writes mostly about race and imperialism, I engage a lot with historical material and news chatter.

What is your favorite end-of-the-day drink? Pepsi-cola.

Kanyinsola Olorunnisola lives in Ibadan, Nigeria. His most recent work includes “In My Country We Are All Crossdressers” in Bodega. Visit Kanyinsola Olorunnisola’s Blog for more information about his work or follow him on Instagram @kanyinsola_ktops.