An interview with Ogana David Okpah by Indunil Madhusankha
A Short Biography of Ogana David Okpah
Ogana David Okpah is an undergraduate of Plant Science and Biotechnology at Nasarawa State University, Nigeria. He is obsessed with writing and the arts in general. He has recently been featured in the Grey Sparrow Journal, Rising Phoenix Review, Provo Canyon Review, Literary Yard and a few more.
Indunil Madhusankha: How would you like to describe yourself in just one sentence?
Ogana David Okpah: Well, I think, I am a silent, easy going person who gets in touch with nature.
IM: I found two of your recent poems, “LOST” and “HELMINTHS” published in Tuck Magazine to be really touching and compelling. There, I saw how subtly and interestingly you have manipulated the art of poetry in bringing out your genuine emotions. How do you get the initial impression to write such poems?
ODO: I strive to write poems on matters relating to humans. So, the dark aspects of the human kind, such as brutality, arise my consciousness to write and hence to fill in the literary spaces and also to develop a measure at creating a balance through an unseen world.
IM: Out of the many works published to your credit, two other very intriguing poems are “A Drink” featured in the Kalahari Review and “SONG” in AfricanWriter.com. I especially applauded your strong powers of imagination perceived in these two poems. What impact do you attempt to create in the readers while authoring such beautiful poesy?
ODO: I have come to grips with the possibility that poetry is everything written for or against anything. I believe that uniqueness makes any poem a good craft. Here, raising the imaginative through the unimaginative as seen in painting is what I want to achieve in order to relieve the human condition.
IM: While reading some of your works, I couldn’t help noticing the fact that religion has an unmistakable influence on your thematic concerns. How would you like to explain this particular tendency in your choice of themes?
ODO: Our environment and community make us humans. I grew up in a religious society. Besides that, I was raised in a Christian home. I think that these factors have influenced some of the metaphors and notions that I try to communicate through my writings.
IM: If somebody gives you a book compiled with all the poems you have written so far, which poem would you like to choose as your favourite? Please specify the reason.
ODO: I go with MAN MADE, a poem featured in Former People Journal. The poem was written for my home country. In my view, creativity is gradually decaying in Nigeria, and, as a result, I intend creating something to be creative.
IM: Who is your favourite poet and which of his/her poems do you love the most?
ODO: Derek Walcott. I am delighted to have read his wonderful poem, Love After Love.
IM: What is the source of inspiration in the journey through your literary career?
ODO: Well, it is nothing much of the human condition. Nature and its uniqueness, birth, death and grief.
IM: I learnt that you are an undergraduate student specializing in Plant Science and Biotechnology. How do you see the ‘conflict’ between this particular subject area and creative writing?
ODO: Science explores the seen world and its tangible objects, but literature travels beyond that to a mental picture in flight. Yet, at some point, the two may be seen to be converging. The difference is rare and still blurs.
IM: As a student, how do you balance your academic life and literary career?
ODO: In order to survive, one has to act wisely. As to how I manage my writing, I write randomly, not minding time or anything, just when it comes.
IM: How often do you write and what are your favourite genres?
ODO: I can’t say that I am too fast or slow. But, I may say that I try to write each day because it is classified as one of my endeavours. For my favourite genres, I go with poetry, fiction and painting. Actually, I do not paint, but I just love the art.
IM: Would you like to share something about your future writing plans?
ODO: Yes, I think every serious minded writer would want to have a full length book published. Soon, I shall also be climbing that flight of stairs.
IM: What do you think are the biggest challenges encountered by the emerging writers in today’s literary world?
ODO: Publication potential, readership and some rejection letters aren’t friendly at all.
IM: With the introduction of digital platforms, we have been able to witness an efflorescence of creative works across the internet. How do you think these digital trends have contributed to the flux of creativity in the contemporary literary scenario?
ODO: The web is quite easily accessible. Also, it helps different cultures to easily share their views on various matters. Thanks to these digital platforms, currently there is a wide range of readership among creative writers.
IM: At last, what message would you like to convey to the aspirant poets and creative writers?
ODO: I think that the more one writes, the more he develops his skill.
IM: Many thanks, dear Ogana David Okpah. I really enjoyed and appreciate the chance to interview you about your works and your opinion on creative writing.
ODO: Thank you. I am honoured.
Ogana D. Okpah is a 22 year old Nigerian who is obsessed with writing and the Arts in general. He has been published with Grey Sparrow Journal, Synchronised Chaos, Asvamegh Journal and others.