Poet Anny: Okay. Good evening.
Whyke Anthology: I’m Olawale by name sir, Can you introduce your self sir?
Poet Anny: I am Anny J. u’Dorphia. I am a poet and writer from Idu, a surburb of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State.
Whyke Anthology: Okay sir. According to our research sir, Nigeria has over a million of Unheard Writers
Poet Anny: *Smiles*… If your analysis says so. Then it must be so.
Whyke Anthology: How then do you think we can curb this problem sir?
Poet Anny: I do not see it in anyway as a problem. It remains a truth that everybody cannot be heard. Nature had pre-arranged that some will own the voices through which the voiceless could be heard.
However, I would hope that the few who are gifted or opportune to be heard should utilize their platforms well. Let them say words that’ll reflect the true situation of things. Let their voices echo the plights of the silent. This way, a few shall stand as true representatives of the silent millions.
Whyke Anthology: You’re right sir. But, what do you think unheard writers should do when they feel neglected?
Poet Anny: Who neglects them?
Every writer must chose avenues to make his/her voice heard, because there is a stiff competition in all the genres of art.
If you do music, you must be grounded. By being grounded, you must make quality music. Then, you must seek ways to put your song out to the world. Same procedure applies to every other trail.
The writing field is very unattractive in this present generation and time. The reading culture is withering out, especially in third world countries like Nigeria where technology is perceived as an exotic thing. Also with the rapid emergence of social media, and the promotion of visual media- pictures in platforms like Instagram and Facebook, most people rarely want to read stuffs. So anyone who hopes to engage in this field must find ways to create and feed its audience. If one cannot do this then such person is not ready to take writing as a profession.
Such person may be exasperated enough to feel they are neglected. Otherwise, no writer should feel neglected at all. If you are unheard today, recoup, replan, explore new channels and keep getting better at whatsoever form of writing you choose to engage. This is the modality emplored by others.
Whyke Anthology: From your point of view sir, can we therefore conclude that unheard writers are the sculptures of their misfortune?
Poet Anny: Apart from issues of publishing which presents an herculean task on its own, it will be safe to say so.
One remains unheard till one is heard. And for one to be heard, one must wake up to speak. For the sake of speaking to be heard, one must go out with a gong. The gong arrests attention; when attention is arrested, the voice is heard.
This is the concept of the Town Crier, and every writer who feels they are unheard must find a way to utilize this concept.
Whyke Anthology: Beautiful sir. But, about the aspect of publishing sir, what can an unheard writer do to curb the problem of publishing?
Poet Anny: Hmmm… As I said earlier, that is an entirely different problem.
Firstly, the choice of the writer matters here too. If such writer (I do not want to call him unheard) decides to publish, he must choose between self publishing and publishing through a deal-and-sign arrangement.
Self publishing is hard- in terms of financing, since the writer will use personal resources to finance such project. But it is easy, because the writer may not go under any scrutiny or be rated by any benchmark. Publishing houses rarely refuse a writer who has money to make his book into print.
A deal-and-sign publishing is almost the surest deal. But it is hard to comeby. Publishing houses want to recoupe their publishing and promotional expenses, thus they only publish writers they are sure to make sales out of. Writers who have won prizes or awards are more predisposed to be published through a deal.
So for a neophyte writer whose voice does not command the audience of desirable readers and fans, it’s unlikely to come by a publishing deal, except through grace or sheer luck.
Thus, the choice depends on the writer. If they wish to self-publish, they should find a way to gather resources. If they wish to have a deal-and-sign, they should work asidously to get the clout and bragging rights that could secure a publishing deal for them.
Apart from this, there is a juicy angle on electronic media called virtual publishing.
Its garnering popularity these days as e-books are gaining against traditional reading styles. E- books are everywhere on the internet most avant garde people want to read on the go. Kindle devices are making downloads of such books very easy too.
Whyke Anthology: Beautiful! Sir can you give a motivational word for the unheard writers?
Poet Anny: I beg to correct. There is nothing like “UNHEARD WRITERS”, Every writer writes for some target reader. It doesn’t matter how small that reading crowd is, as much as another person other than the writer reads such work, then there is a target crowd. So you cannot describe such writer as unheard. The unheard ones are those who do not write anything.
Rather, we have published and unpublished writers. So i demand you redress the question so I can relate to it well.
Whyke Anthology: From my point of view sir, what makes a person a writer mainly deals with him/her writing…
Poet Anny: Unheard ones (not writers) are the ones who do not write.
As such any writer whose work has been read by any person apart from the writer’s own self camnot be caled unheard.
Whyke Anthology: ***Sighs***… Anyway Sir, What exactly do you feel the problem of writers who writes once a while is?
Poet Anny: No definite problem. Writer’s block, Lack of Motivation… These ones are the common culprits.
However, as we know, writing is a passion-driven engagement. One must feed his/her passions. We must fuel the machinery that gives us zest. We must learn to inspire ourselves..
Whyke Anthology: You’ll agree with me sir, that many a writer problem is writing; even some prefers voice recording to writing. With this said sir, what then can a writer do to make him write?
Poet Anny: I’ve already proffered the panacea to this problem. “Writing is a passion driven affair. Feed your passion and it blooms, starve it and it wilts.”
Whyke Anthology: Okay Sir. Can you briefly share with us some of the challenges you faced while coming up has a writer?
Poet Anny: Its been a long trip. I started writing at 9 years. Little poems and stories rendered in scrawny child fonts. I grew into it. The movement has been graduating daily. So has the challenges, too.
From rehearsing lines to present in high school press and debating club in the year 2000, to rehearsing for BB10 spoken word contests in Ibadan, 14 years later. From being pleaded with to allow my poems appear in Red Parrot magazine in Owerri during my Univeraity days; to pleading through e-mails for my works to showcase in Kalahari review.
The progress has been gradual. I cannot even say I have reached where I hope to be but, I can be sure I have been steadily aspiring higher. It is a metamorhosis.
Then there is the thing about acceptbility. In this generation, nobody seems to understand who you are – when you introduce yourself as a poet. I’ve been severely embarrassed over this. Last time a friend even introduced me as; ” friend that writes poets”, I tried correcting him: that I am a poet and that I write and recite poems. “What is the difference, he retorted.” You can imagine how I felt.
I have had very rare publishing ordeals, because I had decided from start that I will not hunt for publishing favors. There are a lots more, that I won’t want to tell for constraints of time.
Whyke Anthology: You really have gone through a lot sir. Therefore, what advice do you have for the newbie poets?
Poet Anny: Let them keep striving. They should not feel let down. They should keep working on their lines and verses. They should not boycot literary events. The literati maintains a lively community. Through programmes, discourse and other events, relationships are established.
They should also not be in a rush to publish. Literary works are like old wine. They mature over time. Just keep writing. Keep editing. Keep trying to make them better. If you read a month old poem and it still makes you feels like it did when it was just penned, then keep it. Read after two months, three, Six and so on. Learn to improve yourself.
Build your brand. There is an interdependence between the diverse genres of literature. By engaging in one, the flair for the other could also be developed and sharpened. So if one is a page poet, they should engage in short stories sometimes or spoken word. Just like that.
Also, participate in workshops and residencies if you can. Keep polishing the abilities you have. They will come to shine with time.
Feed your passions as I said before and the sky will become your threadstone.
Whyke Anthology: We really appreciate the time given unto us sir, and we do hope that when next we beckon upon you, you’ll answer to our call.
Poet Anny: My pleasure. Definitely would I.
Whyke Anthology: On behalf of Whyke Anthology, I say Thank you sir.
Poet Anny: I thank you guys too. For planning big with very little. I promise you it will grow into a very vast programme in no time.
Whyke Anthology: Amen. Thank you once again sir, and bye for now.