Interview With Ifeanyi Ogbo; The Author Who Found His Publisher Under "Humans of New York" on Facebook
BLACK BOY REVIEW: What inspired your book a "forever kind of dream"?
IFEANYI: The title "a forever kind of dream" is a line from a poem in the book titled "rudy". the poems in the book were born from my thoughts, dreams, and experiences. poems painted from moments of sadness, and of pure joy, and fuelled by the affirmative feedback I got whenever I shared them.
I wrote them over the years and stored them away until I met my publisher, Bob makela, on the comments section of a humans of new York post.
BBR: You met your publisher on the comment section of a humans of New York post?
IFEANYI: Yes, It was pure serendipity. I was going through one of the humans of new York posts, and I got sucked in by the avalanche of positivity you don't get to see all the time on the internet. His was one of the replies under a comment and it was just a short note about his new publishing house. I sent him a request, we got talking, he saw a few of my poems and told me he'll love to publish my book and that's how it all began. I remember a couple of my friends telling me I was crazy, they were saying " you just can't send your book to someone you met over the internet" but I had no fears, I just went with my gut feeling and afterwards I googled his name and I told them you all can chill now, he is the real deal.
BBR: How has the feedback to your book been?
IFEANYI: It's been generally positive. I've gotten messages from people telling me how much they enjoyed it. I think everyone who gets it would find it inspiring.
The only negative comment I've gotten so far was someone commenting that the poems were mostly about love and hence unafrican. I found that funny because I've never seen love as a distinctly Asian or distinctly European thing. it's true that some cultures are more expressive when it comes to love but that doesn't make love a regional thing. love is of the spirit and every being that has a spirit is capable of love, it transcends geography and every other human constraint we've put on it.
BBR: The themes of your book are interestingly eclectic, in one poem you are talking of God, in the next you are talking of sex, and it keeps going on and on, from poems on heartbreak to poems on love, poems on life to poems on death, and life after death. what central message were you trying to pass across?
IFEANYI: I think the purpose of my book is to awaken anyone who might be agnostic towards life and love. the themes are indeed varying but everything is connected. everything is viewed through the lens of faith, hope, and love. faith for this moment, hope for the moments to come, and love for always. viewing life through these three lens makes the journey more fulfilling.
BBR: What writers and books have been your major inspirations?
IFEANYI: Rumi's poetry. I'm always in a glorious daze when i read and re-read his poem "looking for your face".
Peter McWilliams poems taught me how to pass a message across in a simple yet impacful way. poetry should always be about expressing and not trying to impress the readers with immense words.
Other writers that have influenced me are Paulo coehlo, Christopher pike, king Solomon(songs of Solomon, proverbs), onyeka nwelue who is a living literary work himself, Maya Angelou, Mary oliver, and Marianne Williamson whose book "a return to love" is one of the greatest things I've ever read.
I'm also inspired by the songwriting of Bono, Chris martins and Jon foreman.
BBR: How do you see the Nigerian literary industry today?
IFEANYI: We need to put in a lot of work. I'm hoping more opportunities arise that encourage diversity and give people the power to tell their stories in whatever genre they choose.
BBR: So what's next for you?
IFEANYI: To live more vividly. Living more vividly will lead to more vivid experiences, and vivid experiences will lead to more vivid literature. I hope to write one hundred books in my lifetime from poetry to prose, and non fiction. so, one down and 99 to go. (laughs)
BBR: Nice having you, Ifeanyi. We just wish you luck.
IFEANYI: Thanks a lot. I appreciate.
Use the link below to purchase Ifeanyi Ogbo's new book.