SENTINEL POETRY
ONLINE MAGAZINE MONTHLY  ISSUE #11 OCTOBER 2003  ISSN 1479-425X

Contents

JOSEF LESSER
Six Poems

OBIORA UDECHUKWU
About The Poet

Poems from Portraits and Landscapes

Poems from What The madman Said

SUNDRA
Interview: My E-Conversation with Sundra by Nnorom Azuonye

Six Poems

LINKS
Notes on contributors

Past issues

Home

My E-Conversation With Sundra by Nnorom Azuonye Continued from previous page


I firmly believe that poetry must work on the page,
if I didn't feel that way about my own poetry,
I wouldn't bother getting up on stage and performing
it - let alone bringing out a collection.  
-Sundra


NA:
What academic institutions have you attended and what did you study?
 
S: I studied Law at Westminster University - got a 2:1 - but didn't think that the corporate straightjacket suited me.

NA:
Tell me about your first encounter with the artform known as poetry.

S: Discovering Grace Nichols at A'Level English literature was a real turning point for me - reading some of her work really made me sit up and pay attention in class - her voice was so strong, sensual and precise… At university - I guess I was still struggling to find my voice - writing as an emotional response to stress and other issues.
 
NA: Which poets, dead or living, are your audiences and readers most likely to detect echoes of their voices in your work?

S: You don't make these questions easy do you? There's a whole range of poets that I draw upon for inspiration - from Sylvia Plath to Jackie Kay, Grace Nichols, Rita Dove, Cecil Rajendra, Ben Okri to Francesca Beard and Karen Alkahay-Gut (Tel Aviv professor) - as for their voices in my work - I like to think that my voice is unique - besides, to quote Sylvia Plath the right of interpretation is always with the reader.

NA: Press writings about you always post a 'Performance Poet' sticker on you. There are several tags on performance poetry at the moment from 'open mic' to 'spoken word', how would you best describe your act?

S: Yes, I do enjoy performing my poems live and do so on a regular basis - so I guess that I am a 'Performance Poet' - but first and foremost I'm a poet.
 
NA: Are you a spontaneous performer, or do you first rehearse your shows? 

S: I like to do both - know my pieces - but generally I'm quite spontaneous.
 
NA: Several of my previous interviewees have spoken about the importance of reading/performance of a poem in its creative process. Stephen Vincent particularly observed that there are poets whose works are better heard than read. With your bias for performance, would you say you were one of such poets? Or do you believe that the sonic impetus of your work will survive though printed?

S:
Although delivery is very important - I firmly believe that poetry must work on the page - if I didn't feel that way about my own poetry - I wouldn't bother getting up on stage and performing it - let alone bringing out a collection.  
 
NA: This brings me to Starchild to be launched next Monday at the Willesden Green Library. Tell me a little about this collection of your poems.
 
S: It's my debut collection - It's quite honest I guess - and includes some poems that I have enjoyed performing over the years. I wanted to keep the collection simple - it symbolizes growth and redemption - light at the end of the tunnel.
 
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