In a world where too many people remain silent when what we need more than anything is authentic, progressive voices it is an absolute treasure to meet someone across the globe who not only becomes an inspiration but a friend. Seyi Ogunlade, Author of Love Simply is an extraordinary soul. I have so many words I want to write about her but I will let her words, her beautiful, intentional words speak for themselves.
I will say these few things. You are about to meet a mover, a shaker, a woman on a mission to express herself and connect with others, a woman dedicated to continuing to RISE.
Seyi, It is wonderful to have you with us! To jump right in can you tell us how your book, Love, Simply & Other Poems, came to fruition?
Michelle, it is an absolute honor to be here. Thank you! Love Simply, & Other Poems is a collection of poems & prose composed of my first fruits conceived in a time of emotional & psychological transition. The poems were born over a period of one year, which is quite symbolic because a lot went on during that year & these poems helped document my thought process. Basically, I just started writing down these poems, which not only spoke of my journey but also spoke right back to me. In so many ways, they set the stage for soliloquy. To be frank, it was really more about creating a medium for self-expression than writing a book. At the end of it, I not only got a book but reconciliation with myself.
When did you first feel the call to create poetry?
Last year. I had gotten to a place of inner restlessness and I knew I had to go back to writing. When I did, poetry happened. I was in a state of being that only poetry could explain or alleviate. I do think I was also inspired by external factors: I started reading more poetry & I think this contributed to my using it as a channel for self-expression. I never thought I would write poetry but now it feels like second nature, just as familiar as speaking only much more therapeutic.
What does writing mean to you? What emotions does it evoke?
I started writing when I was 10 or 11, for the sole reason of escaping my reality or giving a sequel to a very good book I had read. At the time, writing brought excitement & a sense of control. Now that I’m more focused on poetry, I write to express myself better & to connect with others by using my own experience as a bridge. Though i am more inspired to write through the biais of intense emotions, the feeling i get after penning down a poem is that of peace and release, you know, as if I have just let go of something that had been trying to force it’s way out. Almost like giving birth, though I have never given birth to a physical child. Presently, writing is not (just) about enjoying the fruits of my imagination, it is more cathartic than anything else.
What three words describe you best?
Mmhh, this question has always been on my list of most difficult questions to date. Let me see…esoteric, wanna be polymath & adamant. Something like that.
Do you have a special place that inspires you or do you find inspiration everywhere?
I find inspiration everywhere. I love the elements but also people too & their creations. I am very interested in the relationship we humans have with our surroundings. For example, I love architecture & I love discovering how the design of a particular architecture helps those that live or commute through the said architecture interact with the natural elements around them. I have also made the decision to see beauty in everything, not through the window of beauty as defined by popular opinion, but with the desire to see each thing or place with it’s particularity.
From the beautiful poems I have glimpsed you truly pour your soul into each piece. Touching on womanhood and race. Can you share with us a little about how these subject matters are interwoven into your life and writing?
First of all, thank you so much Michelle for your uplifting words. Secondly, womanhood & race are two things i have had to come to terms with. For all of my teenage and early post teen years, i struggled with loving the woman I was becoming. I couldn’t to reconcile with my womanhood like other women seemed to. I often found myself aspiring to be like those other women, & coveting their characteristics, especially the physical ones. It was only when I was reconciled to myself through seeds of self-love, that I fell in love with my own womanhood & the characteristics my race gave me. Another reason I place a lot of emphasis on these themes is because current issues have really brought them to the spotlight. Womanhood & race are two very relevant issues & unfortunately it is not all glorious. I chose not to ignore this but rather use my weapon of choice to encourage, enlighten & especially instruct especially when it comes to the generation just coming up.
The moon, sun and stars. Which do you draw from the most?
I love staring at the stars. It is soothing. It is also very humbling: It reminds me of our finitude amongst& the magnitude of creation.
What is your favorite season?
Scent and color to me brings back memories. Are there any scents or colors that bring you back to your childhood? Or any other special memory? Do you utilize the color or the image of the scents that evoke these memories in your work?
That’s so cool Michelle. Certain scents draw me back to old memories: perfumes, flowers & especially culinary scents. When I was younger, I used to get these ‘déjà-vous’ sensations quite often but that has really died down now. Now it’s more images, shapes & colors. I guess that makes sense since I am very visual. Yes, these are certainly components of my work: I use words to paint a visual image in an effort to really bring the message home to the reader. Scents & colors are a great help to making the image even more three-dimensional.
If you could go back to any time in history and wield your pencils of today to capture a moment in time, when and where would you go back to and why?
It would have to be during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. I find myself very attracted to this point in history; attracted to the suffering of my kindred. I would first hand document things from their point of view & ask them if they have anything to tell the world, especially their off-springs, living centuries after.
Touch, smell, sight, hearing, taste, out of the five senses which would you say you adore most?
Sight. Hands down.
Top Five places you would like to visit in the world and why?
In no particular order, British Columbia & it’s whereabouts, because of the breath taking views. Tokyo because of the geek in me. The Japanese make cool gadgets. The Caribbean islands because, well have you seen those crystal blue pristine beaches?! Mexico, because it’s been a long time coming. And last but not least, Santorini because it’s also been a very long time coming. Let me not get started on the views!
What do you want others to take from your artistic creations?
I desire to touch others with my writing. This is my number one goal for putting together a compilation. Writing gave me three things & I pray my readers would go away with them at the end of my book: reconciliation, release in the form of healing & revelation. With consideration to that and my photography and even dance, it all balls down to one thing: I want to inspire. This is the legacy I want to leave behind long after my name has been forgotten.
Do you have any other books on the horizon?
Mmhhh. I can’t say I don’t Michelle :)
Love Simply, & Other Poems by Oluwaseyi Ogunlade is set to be released on the twenty-third of October. It will be available primarily on lulu.com.