” Read, read, ask good and silly questions ” – Interview with Onyedikachi Chinedu
Winner of the 2018 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Content (Poetry Category)
KD: What are some of the challenges you face as a poet/writer? What steps do you take to overcome them?
Onyedikachi: One of the challenges is ignorance. The only way I deal with it is by reading and trying out what I see in books.
KD: Who are some literary figures that inspire you/you look up to?
Onyedikachi: I live for Ocean Vuong. The literary figures I look up to, past and present, are TS Elliott, Mahmoud Darwish, Louise Glück, Ocean Vuong, Illa Kaminsky, Yusef Komunyakaa, Justin Phillip Reed, etcetera.
“Currently … I’m just reading and writing. But you-all should watch out for me.“
KD: In 2018, you won first prize in the poetry category of Kreative Diadem’s annual writing contest. How did you feel about winning?
Onyedikachi: I’m still grateful for being the winner of the second edition of the KDAWC. I was gay throughout the Yuletide season. It lasted well and I’m thankful it did.
KD: Let’s get down to your flash fiction. What was the inspiration behind “My Father Hew Out Himself on my Skin?” Was there a specific message you intended to pass along to your readers?
Onyedikachi: The inspiration behind “My Father Hew out Himself on My Skin” was fed by my father’s non-stop talk of expectation. It is a good thing for loved ones to expect so much from whom they care for, but there should be a moment, once in a while, where they stop and say: “we know you’re trying enough and we want to say ‘we love you.'” Lol! There was no specific message. It was just me writing how I felt after listening to my dad’s rhapsody for the umpteenth time.
KD: Apart from winning first prize in the poetry contest in 2018, what are some of your other achievements? (Awards, nominations, published works, etc?)
Onyedikachi: So far, I have no great achievements. But I have a growing number of rejection in my inbox, if you decide to count that as an achievement.
KD: What are some of your long-term goals as a writer/poet?
Onyedikachi: Go to school. Write a book or two. Have a chapbook. Be in an MFA program. Get publish more.
KD: Are you currently working on any poems/books now?
Onyedikachi: Currently… I’m just reading and writing. But you-all should watch out for me.
KD: What advice would you give to young writers like yourself, especially in Nigeria?
Onyedikachi: The most useful piece of advice I will earnestly and truthfully give to young writers, like me, are: read, read, ask good and silly questions, read, write, read, submit; do not dare settle for mediocrity; there’s always a sunflower at the end, sooner or later.
KD: What do you think about Kreative Diadem?
Onyedikachi: KD is a nice haven for writers, poets, and readers.
KD: Any final words?
Onyedikachi: Do you think of starting a workshop for poets and writers, KD? We seriously need a space where we are mentored by great poets. Thank you.