For the purpose of this interview, could you please introduce yourself?
I am Bash S. Amuneni- an Architect by training, now a Banker with 9 years’ experience, an essayist and also Poet. I am from Nasarawa State with a very cerebral experience of life. I love adventure and also love to travel. I am known more as a poet.
“There Is A Lunatic In Every Town” is a strange title for an anthology, how did you arrive at this? Something must have inspired this. Please share with us.
It is actually the title of a poem I wrote way back in 2004 and the first time I decided to perform it which was in 2015, everybody loved it. So, I thought I should have it as the title of my collection of poems because the phrase sounded outrageous and quite intriguing.
Probably “hectic” doesn’t describe the process of putting this anthology together, how would you capture the whole experience?
The experience was an eye opener for me. I always thought my lines were perfect, until my group of editors sieved through them to give new life to the pieces. I think they did a really good job. It has also given me a sense of renewed respect for writers.
Having launched an anthology, recorded some spoken words track and graced many prestigious stages to showcase your art, what is left to do for the love of poetry?
The work is just starting. There are more stages to grace in and outside the shores of Nigeria. Ultimately, we hope poetry gets the desired commercial acceptance it deserves. I am also looking forward to developing young poets and doing as much as I can for the genre.
Poetry is often linked with freedom by most poet, is it same with you?
Strangely, my first spoken word poetry album was titled Freedom. Poetry is a way a poet expresses his innermost thoughts or battles. It is a form of release of pent up emotions and when laced with the right words, it can be a beauty to behold. You can separate a poet from his sense of release or break-out.
If you have to choose one between Bash the poet, Architect Bash and Banker Basiru, which would you rather stick with? What words will capture your reason?
I sincerely love being all of the Three. As a creative person, for you to really get commercial value from your passion, you need to understand how money works and also the makeup of the economy. Banking has helped my understanding of these things. The world has moved from Art for Art sake and this is what every creative person must understand and accept. We need to consciously look for avenues to sell our craft for commercial gain. I believe in that.
How did you feel with the acceptance of Freedom Hall, Abuja and how do you intend to keep up with it?
The reception of Freedom Hall in Abuja has been most fulfilling and very encouraging. We intend to deepen our interaction with the attendees by hosting better open Mic nights and having the very best talents within and outside the FCT grace our stage in the delivery of quality in poetry and alternative music. We have to improve on sound and staging.
What’s your answer to that question you thought we would have asked?
The earliest poetic influences were Richard Ntiru and Odia Ofiemun. Now, I am influenced by a lot more people. Most of them are very close friends. It also depends on the type of poetry they have mastered and the level of their craftsmanship – written or spoken word poetry.
A marbled word from your bank to your folks will mean a lot sir.
…”for dreams do not care from whose quilt they are born”- lines from the poem “Yards of Dreams” in my new collection “There is a Lunatic in Every Town”. So, dream on, because your dreams are by all means very valid!
Alli Abiola is a digital strategist who also doubles as a web operations coordinator. He blogs at itsallisay.com and writes from Ibadan. He can be contacted via +2348153658527.