ZAINAB ABDULLAHI of northern literary forum had an interview with another teenage writer; Abdulrazaq Salihu.
16 years old Abdulrazaq is a poet and Spoken word artist. He was the winner of most valuable contestant (male) at HIASFEST 2021, 2nd runner up in on the spot poetry, and 1st runner up in spoken poetry.
He is a member of the hilltop creative arts foundation. He has some of his poems published/upcoming in SHAGAZ anthology; an Indian Anthology that won fastest compiled anthology, Konya Shamsrumi magazine, christmas tide, Waah re kisan, stories from the heart, Amulet poetry magazine, Yasou literary journal, and more.
How did you become a writer, what influenced it?
I actually became a writer unintentionally, subconsciously rather, I woke up one night, wrote a poem for my mother, showed it to my sister, she took me to HILL TOP CREATIVE ARTS FOUNDATION, BOOM I’m a writer.
About what influenced it, I have been trying to relate it to loosing my father the same year earlier. Not certain it’s it though.
How long have you been into poetry ?
My first poem was written in 2019 November… Officially it would be 2years by November this year.
What are the difficulties you faced (or facing) as a writer?
Time management; Being a secondary school science student that wants the best for myself, balancing writing and other school work was hard at first, it’s not now though.
I have learnt that writing is not for those who do it when they’re free. It is for those who write when they’re free and when they’re in a tight schedule.
I would’ve said WRITERS BLOCK
But with the exposure I got, I believe writers block is a state of mind and a part of the processes of writing so I write when I want to, no writers block for me now.
What does being a spoken word artist means to you?
Well it means a lot (not up to poetry though.
Spoken poetry is part of the channels I use to escape certain situations.
I write it when I can’t seem to pen down a poem, I became a spoken poet by accident too, someone paid for me to partake in a slam, I did, I was great and boom again, I’m a spoken poet.
It actually means so much since it’s one of the easiest ways of communicating an emotion or idea to vast audience.
Between when you started and now, what growth have you had?
I don’t know how people that are not writers actually live their lives.
From the day I started writing, I have grown physically (my stage fright died), mentally, emotionally and even physiologically.
Writing has shown me the world from a whole different perspective, I have been honoured quite a lot of times, I have addressed gatherings, I have won so many things, I have learnt how to live a life well fulfilled.
Writing turned me to the president of my school press club, it made me the head boy of my school, it made me the founder of A NATIONS FOUNDATION, it made me THE ABDULRAZAQ SALIHU (AS MY SISTER SAYS).
When your works are criticized, how do you feel?
Damn I love criticism.
My sister is my No.1 criticizer, there were times that she destroyed a whole poem with just a phrase, I have grown as a writer to love being criticized even though some cases make me loose it.
I feel challenged when I’m criticized, I feel I can do more since people are spotting mistakes, I feel I can be the best !
Have you ever thought of walking away from poetry?
This knot I have tied with poetry (writing generally) is holding us both till the end and even in the after life.
Who is your favorite author?
Sketches. (I want to have a collection of poetry that would best my sister’s own)
What do you want to achieve as a writer?
I want to touch every living body’s heart on earth.
I want my pieces to travel the world.
I want to get to Nirvana in writing.
All other things would come(money, fame, e t c)
Do you have role model (s) you are in awe of their works?
I do of course.
Fatima Salihu Author of sketches ( my sister)
Isaiah Adepoju, my great mentor
Uncle Ojo Olumide Emmanuel, The MAN. Author of supplications for years in sands.
My birthday mate; Paulo Coelho
My very own Robert Lee Frost
Abu yaman, Zakiyyah Dzukogi, Zee Aslam,Yusuf Bm.
And above all, Bm Dzukogi (Our Father).
So many more…so many more.
Who are your favorite African Spoken word artists?
Hafsah k Abdulahi
Me, I love my poetry.
How do you overcome fear when performing on stage?
My kinda stage fright is horrible.
My entire body starts shaking, I loose my voice.
But when I became a writer hmm, I memorize my piece and let it sing in my bones before the performance.
I go up there, ( I don’t see again when I’m up there)
Pour unto them what I have, I’m done.
What’s your take on plagiarism?
I would never plagiarise.
I feel it’s because upcoming artist like me want to fit in so fast, they just go to any unpopular blog, steal a line or two…I just feel they need serious lecturing by serious mentors.
Lastly, what’s your advice to aspiring writers and poets?
I know a lot of mentors say read, read, read, then write. I won’t say that.
The problem with aspiring writers is that when they’re told to read, they go around reading bulky books, critical essays e t c, this is good but read only that which will sharpen your pen.
We tend to think if we read the writing will come, hah!,it will not oo, read a poem and how the big men have bisected it, understand it and then write your own…that’s what they mean when they say read.
Plus we can start with writing AFTERS.
I should also take this advice into consideration.
Thank you so much for honoring our invitation
We look forward to more chat session.
It’s for us all.
Thank you for the honours…I feel pleasured big time.