Sentinel Poetry (Online) Magazine Monthly...Since December 2002   ISSN 1479-425X
JUNE 2003, ISSUE #7

Nnorom Azuonye

"I can only speak for myself and
for me writing is to demolish walls.
The readers begin to see the world differently,
they are plunged into a different world
an alternative world."


NA:
If you were faced with a challenge to define poetry to somebody who has never heard of it, how would you define it?

RG: Poetry is to turn words into a flower.

NA: Do you have a favourite form of poetic expression?

RG: The newly-invented.

NA: When is it fine for a poet to experiment with form? Are you an experimental poet and if so, what do you wish to achieve with your poetry?

RG: I was always more interested in innovations in form that of content, but every writer must know this for himself. I can only speak for myself and for me writing is to demolish walls. The readers begin to see the world differently, they are plunged into a different world, an alternative world. It is only natural that I experiment with form; I see no reason to restrict and reduce myself to one kind of expression. But despite the fact that I see myself as an experimental poet I do not want to achieve anything with my poems. That remains the readers concern: everyone can see what they like in the text.

NA: How regularly do you read your poems to a live audience? How important is it to you that poems are read or performed and what devices do you apply in order to achieve unforgettable performance poetry?

RG: I give readings regularly. Generally though I believe that all my texts, poetry and prose, should be read and not read aloud. I read poems slowly and for prose scenic reading is often a good idea. I don't give much for performances: performances, poetry slam and the like represent a different kind of literature that bears little resemblance to mine. For me language is all important. It has to be powerful without the need for performance.

NA: Do I understand that once you have written a poem it is like electricity which some people may use to save lives and others may use to kill?

RG: No, it is not like electricity, which some people may use to save lives and others may use to kill. That is all about power, but this is not what I am after. A poem is a poem and it is just there like a tree on a meadow. Everyone can come to the tree and find in it what he wants to find.

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My eConversation with Roman Graf, continued from
previous page.