Lanre Badmus is a Nigerian lawyer, poet, novelist and radio personality. He has published six books which include ‘The Gorgeous Murder’, amongst others with the latest two being ‘Selling Mississippi’ and ‘An Assassin and his Aesthetics’. In this interview, Badmus speaks about his latest books.
What inspired your new book ‘Selling Mississippi’?
Back in Nigeria, people hardly talk about Mississippi while discussing the United States of America. The bunch of the talks are on cities like New York, California, Atlanta and the likes.
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I got to Mississippi and I saw a beautiful city with a lovely atmosphere. Gradually in my habit, I started writing poems about the weather and my experiences at large.
I got inspired and I decided to make a Poetic trilogy about the state. The first of the series is ‘Selling Mississippi’ and it’s a compilation of poems which centre majorly on the beautiful weather of Mississippi.
What are the features of Mississippi you tried to describe in the collection of poems?
Like I said earlier, ‘Selling Mississippi’ is a poetry book that talks about the beautiful weather of Mississippi.
With poetry, I painted a fascinating picture of the sun, rain, winter, fall, morning, night etc. The peculiarity of the weather caught my fancy and inspired me to depict many sceneries of nature.
The next in the series will be about the rivers and other landmarks.
It’s obvious you dwell more on nature in the book, is there any correlation between poetry and nature?
‘Selling Mississippi’ is genre called travel literature and under the genre is nature writing. Poetry and nature cannot be separated. A good poet must be able to paint different pictures of nature ranging from the weather to landmarks. Nature is always an inspiration to poets. The nature of Mississippi gave me a great inspiration to write several poems which I wouldn’t have written if I were elsewhere. I sincerely believe that the city will be a muse for any writer or tourist that visits it.
How many poems were contained in the book, and which is your favourite?
‘Selling Mississippi’ is a poetry book of over seventy poems. I actually don’t have a favourite. All the poems are good. Readers will enjoy every line of every poem contained therein.
In one of the poems, you wrote that “Mississippi’s weather is multilingual”, what do you mean?
When I said ‘Mississippi’s weather is multilingual’ I simply meant that she could speak winter, summer, spring, autumn… to mention a few. It’s just me dazzling my readers with both metaphor and personification.
How many days did it take you to write the book?
It took me nothing less than ninety days and ninety nights to write selling Mississippi. I was determined and dedicated. After which, we did series of intense editing.
From your experience in poetry writing, what’s the greatest skill a poet needs? And how challenging is it to put pen to paper and write poems?
If a beautiful mind is a skill, that should be the greatest skill a poet must possess. Without that, I believe a poet is just wasting his or her time. A beautiful mind gives you an edge over other writers. With such a mind, you can always create something great from nothing. Then, consistency is key. I first dabbled into poetry in the year 1999. I got published by The Guardian newspaper in 2001. I also got published by Punch newspaper in the same year before I later moved ahead and became a columnist for The Sun newspaper. I also wrote for several magazines. I was a radio poet. I was on the world’s face with my poems. I have never relented and I keep getting better in what I do. In essence, a beautiful mind and consistency are great skills a poet must possess.
What’s the focus of your second new book “An Assassin and his Aesthetics”?
‘An Assassin and His Aesthetics’ is the poetry book I published alongside ‘Selling Mississippi’. Another great collection of poems which include my experiences during the ENDSARS lockdown. I also created some fictional scenes which also passed my message across as it concerns the ENDSARS saga.
I also added poems on my weekly routines on Fridays and Mondays. For example, how I worked on Mondays and partied on Fridays.
It’s a book you must read. It’s actually a big collection of poems which cut across several themes