Lanre Badmus is a poet, lawyer, novelist and radio personality who has published four books, namely ‘The Gorgeous Murder’, ‘Green White Green’, ‘Love in The Mirror’ and ‘The Poetic Assassin’ (COVID-19 Poetry Series).
In this interview he talks about his latest work, his journey into poetry and more.
Bookshelf: What drew you to poetry?
Lanre Badmus: I had no mentor. By the year 1999 I had the urge to write in rhymes and started writing poems immediately I was through with my final secondary school examination. No one encouraged me aside a friend called Dele Obafemi, and I never relented. I kept on writing and discovered I was good at it. I read foreign books on literature and developed my skills. I created my style even though I did not have a mentor then. In my first year at University of Ilorin, I met one Stevie Taylor. He taught me some golden skills and I became wild with poetry. Few years after, I contacted Femi Adesina after reading several of his works. He believed in me and gave me a lifeline. Now I’m referred to as the ‘Poetic Assassin.’
I started as a storyteller. Back in primary school, I created stories for my siblings. Then, when I was in secondary school, JSS 3 to be precise, I wrote a full-length book. I wrote my first poem in the year 1999. I first got published by The Guardian newspaper in the year 2000.
By the year 2005, Mr Femi Adesina, now a Special Adviser to the Nigerian president, facilitated my first shot at consistent writing when I got a column in The Sun newspaper which was titled ‘the lyricist’. That was the little exposure I needed.
Now I have four published books both in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, the last being ‘The Poetic Assassin’ (COVID-19 Poetry Series.)
Bookshelf: What motivated you to write ‘The Poetic Assassin’?
Badmus: When coronavirus spread to Nigeria, I was scared and emotional. Our lives were swallowed up by the lockdown and I thought we would stay at home for the remainder of this year. I didn’t want to be redundant and so wrote every single day. I got inspired by what I heard daily in the news. I became a philosopher who sought solace in poetry.
Bookshelf: What message were you trying to pass across in the poem ‘Coronavirus and the Future’?
Badmus: The coronavirus took us by surprise. I talked about the need to prepare for the unknown. I was actually scared that technology wouldn’t survive pandemic.
Bookshelf: What kind of feedback have you received for your book?
Badmus: I got positive feedback. My readers were awed as usual. I have gotten a good number of downloads, both on Amazon and Okadabooks. Moreover, I have been getting calls from readers even outside Nigeria. Also, for the fact that Mr Femi Adesina, who is a Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari wrote the foreword to the book, I get more positive reactions than I bargained for.
Bookshelf: Between your legal practice and poetry, which gives you more joy and satisfaction?
Badmus: Actually, both. Poetry is a passion I have mastered. I don’t depend on it to feed my family. I love to write. I can’t help but write. It has become a part of me. It’s like a drug I abuse. I find a lot of satisfaction in it. Without mincing words though, my legal practice pays the bills.
Bookshelf: What advice do you have for writers?
Badmus: Keep on writing and never relent in learning. Don’t compete with anyone but be yourself. Don’t write for money because if you do, you will be frustrated when it doesn’t come as fast as you wish. Enjoy your writing and create a style for yourself.