Aninoritse Ejuliuwa Weaves Africa’s Resilience into a Pantoum

Herein, Aninoritse discusses her new poem “Trickles and Torrents“.

What’s the creative process behind this poem like? How did you start it (where were you and at what period), and how long did it take to write?

I find the timely strides of Africans around the globe inspiring. I completed the first version of Trickles and Torrents in late 2020 while the world reeled from the ravages of COVID-19 on the one hand and the racial and social unrest on the other hand. The urge to cast light on our resilience and the reality of our victories over our numerous challenges inspired me to pen down these lines.

I’ve discovered that leaving my works to marinade longer makes them shine better. Fast forward to 2022. When I found that The Moveee was accepting entries, I reviewed my pantoum again and submitted it. So, excluding the sitting period, it took me approximately a month of intense composition to complete it.

The poetry style is interesting, a pantoum. Why did you decide to use this style?

The repetitive and lyrical nature of pantoums was what sold me on it. I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to express the good things we have going even after periods of pain. I was going for the depth it would surely provide. Although it was quite complex to compose, I chose this style because of its uniqueness and its potential to drive the point home in an unforgettable way.

What are the themes you intend to explore in this poem? To me, it seems to explore themes of grass to grace and growth. Could you share a bit about these and why it’s important to write about them?

Oh, yes. Trickles and Torrents is a testament to how far we’ve come as a continent. It juxtaposes the gloom of our past, the building blaze of our present, and the miracle in between. Things are looking good from where we are now, and I’m excited to see how it unfolds. Even as history books cataloguing the African story abound, it’s incredible that we can still compress our experiences over the centuries into a few unforgettable lines. Writing about our victories is vital, as it will deepen our sense of gratitude and fuel our confidence and passion to pursue greater heights.

When did you begin to write poetry, and how did you discover it?

I was 13 when I first tried my hand at poetry for a school assignment. Now, nearly a decade later, I still find myself stunned at how much revelation can be packed into one simple-looking sentence. I’ve written quite a number since then. In 2019, my poem ‘The Looming’ was shortlisted and published by the Nigerian Student Poetry Prize (NSPP). Primarily, though, I often find myself melding creative writing with poetry- a heady, potent mix I’ve found produces a wonder-working literary hybrid. Granted, many poems still go entirely over my head. Yet I find them too gorgeous to stop reading and writing. It’s one of those medicines you can’t find in a pharmacy. 

What is your ultimate goal as a poet and writer?

The zenith of my mission as a weaver of words is to transform lives through its mechanism and untold wealth. As an avid reader, I am a product of life-giving words’ impact. It would mean everything that people find solutions, joy and true peace through my works as they go out in publication. It’s a gift I’ve been blessed with, and I intend to use it to bless the world around me.

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