Writing is an evidence of consciousness. Things written by a writer can impact people and societies greatly, even after the said writer is gone- Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (KIS)
NWA: Let’s get to meet you.
Samson: My Name Is Kukogho Iruesiri Samson; my parents are from Delta State, South-South Nigeria, but I adopted Osun state because I was born there, in the ancient city of Ile-Ife. I feel more like someone from there than anywhere else. My umbilical cord is buried there. I also speak Yoruba better than any other language.
NWA: What is writing to you?
SAMSON: Writing is existing; it is an evidence of consciousness. If I exist, I should be conscious of my environment and the people I share the space with. That consciousness is what I express in writing. I write because I exist.
NWA: When did you discover your writing talent and the journey so far?
SAMSON: I started writing in the late 90s but it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that I took it really serious and kept records diligently. My poem appeared in the New Nigerian newspaper in 2003. As a child, my father exposed me to serious books, I mean books beyond my age. But I read them. Over the years my writings have been published in two books, WHAT CAN WORDS DO (2013) and I SAID THESE WORDS (2015), with many more in the works. I also run a publishing house and several literary initiatives. It’s been good.
NWA: You won the Poetry writer of the year at the inaugural edition of the Nigerian Writers Awards; nominated with great writers in the category, what do think made you win?
SAMSON: I don’t really know. I don’t contest awards and I don’t enter for competitions, even though I appreciate them, which is why I did not ask anyone to vote me for the Poetry Writer of the Year Award at NWA. I felt it would come if I deserved it.
NWA: Did you expect you will win and how did you feel winning the award?
SAMSON: It is a good feeling when you are selected among your peers and given recognition, especially when you did not have to lobby for it. So I was really appreciative.
NWA: Tell us more about your new book “I SAID THESE WORDS” and why people should read it?
SAMSON: Like all my writings, I SAID THESD WORDS is a candid opinion from an unapologetic poet. People are often too politically correct in their opinions of the world and others around them. This is the same thing as telling a lie. This book will smack you in the face with creativity and truth in one heady mix. You should read it.
NWA: Why did you decide to use the name “I SAID THESE WORDS”?
SAMSON: That title is an assertion of my candidness and my readiness to take responsibility for what I say. In a world where people are two-faced, I choose to say my words and claim it with all boldness. Yes, I said these words. So what?
NWA: You are popularly known as a poetry promoter with a large audience, how are you able to manage them?
SAMSON: It’s not easy I must say. The time and financial costs of managing my many initiatives are high. It means a lot of late nights. Considering that the projects are 90% self-sponsored, I make a lot of sacrifices. In 2015 alone, I spent no less than N1,500,000. It is worth every penny. We published four authors free, bought a laptop for a writer, organized a poetry festival, donated books, organized workshops. It was good, but tough.
NWA: Your poems beat human imaginations, what’s the secret behind the inspiration?
SAMSON: Being real is what helps my poetry. Believe me, once a poet realizes that poetry (writing) is a product of mental digestion — an evidence of consciousness and that poet writes what is heard, seen, felt, perceived, foreseen or hoped, then the poems created will be very good. As a poet, I am an individual of many perceptive tentacles, expressing ‘creatively’.
NWA: As a writer what has been/is your biggest challenge?
SAMSON: Money. Believe me, money to publish and reach the right audiences has been my main problem. Next is time. I have to earn a living and that limits my time for writing.
NWA: Aside from writing what else do you do?
SAMSON: I am a journalist, media expert (all platforms) and web administrator. I also own a publishing house, Words Rhymes & Rhythm (WRR).
NWA: Personally, what do you think Nigeria’s biggest challenge is and if you are given the power to change it what would you do?
SAMSON: Nigeria’s largest problem is the government’s way of doing things. The Civil Service system is too complicated and sluggish for anything positive to happen. Check the US system, most government activities are privatized. We need that. Also, we don’t encourage education. Pay teachers a good wage from the lowest levels to the highest and invest in the education sector. It will bring rapid development.
NWA: Who are your favorite writers and what work(s) has made a great impact on you?
SAMSON: Shakespeare, Ngugi, Soyinka have all impacted me. One book I will never forget is West African Verse, an anthology of poets from the sub-continent. It changed my view of poetry as a teenager.
NWA: Do you believe writers have the power to change the world, if yes why?
SAMSON: Anyone with an audience, no matter how small, has the power to change the world. Things written by a writer can impact people and societies greatly, even after the said writer is gone. There are many examples around the world.
NWA: What are the limitations Nigerian writers are facing?
SAMSON: Nigerian writers are faced mainly with the problem of finance, a struggling publishing industry and a poor book marketing system. Aside that, there is a support gap between the young and established writers. No one wants to develop a mutually beneficial system. NWA: How do you unwind? I’m a chronic houseman (housewife) in the sense that I would rather stay at home and type away on my internet enabled device than go out. My typical “chill-out” is a bottle of wine, ice cubes and something I cooked myself (maybe grilled chicken). Yes, I like to cook. Sometimes I go out to the movies. I love the big screen.
NWA: What big thing are we expecting next from Samson?
SAMSON: New projects for young Nigerian writers. I am hoping to get collaborations with Nigerian and International partners to do something for young writers.
NWA: Have you had negative comments about your work(s), if yes how did you handle it?
SAMSON: Of course, you always have negative people who mock anything, no matter how good. The thing is, as a person, I write first for me, not anyone. Once I am fine with what I have written or what I do, then no opinion really matters.
NWA: What is your philosophy of life?
I come first, then people. If I am not happy, or I have not taken care of myself, how will I be able to pass happiness to others? So my philosophy is make yourself happy and pass it on. Live and let live.
NWA: Which of your platforms can people connect to you?
SAMSON: I am on all the major platforms but I prefer Facebook which is like an aggregation of all social media networks. I am BrainyPoet on Twitter and CandidLAGOS on Instagram.
NWA: It’s been great having you, thank you so much for your time.
SAMSON: Thank you.