#YNaijaLit: Collaborations are at the heart of Yakeeb’s ‘Numb Tantrums’

Yakeeb

When I first discovered Yakeeb’s poetry chapbook ‘Numb Tantrums’, I was particularly moved by how it was able to capture the audaciousness of youth and the despair that is often accompanied by such zest for life. It was an honour to talk to him about the chapbook, his future as a poet and the place of collaboration among young artists are vital to the future of literature. 


YNAIJA

“Numb Tantrums” is self published, in partnership with the literary magazine, Arts And Africa. This is an unconventional approach to publishing for an emerging poet. Why did you decide to take this route?

YAKEEB

Yes, there’s a partnership with Arts & Africa and we took an unconventional approach to creating awareness for Numb Tantrums. From a microscopic view, Numb Tantrums isn’t yet published. What we did rather was to let the literary ecosystem that we are a part of know that there’s a new voice that urgently needs to be heard, a new unorthodox perspective to appreciate poetry from.

YNAIJA

According to information on “Numb Tantrums”, the book is partly inspired by and in partnership with the visual artist Aadesokan. How much did his art and your partnership influence the eventual poetry in the chapbook?

YAKEEB

Aadeshokan is a great guy, an amazing artist and a very good friend. Before I considered compiling poems, he was one of the very few people who knew about my love affair with poetry. We’ve always had conversations about philosophy, psychology, art and religion, amongst other things. You’ll find poems in Numb Tantrums that touches on these topics and my perception of them. That being said, Aadeshokan and his art influenced the poetry in Numb Tantrums heavily.

YNAIJA

You have chosen to share “Love 8” and “Night Cat” with us from the book. Why these specific poems?

YAKEEB

I think they’re relate-able and connected. Love 8 explores how dysfunctional modern-day romance can get, love is usually simple till it gets complicated and I think it’s a beautiful mess when it goes to shit. Night Cat is the awareness that comes with observing sex work in the city, when it’s dark out. It is real and it is really worth talking about.

YNAIJA

There is a brusqueness to the poetry on Numb Tantrums, a railing at the world if you will, against the conventions of life in the 21st century. Was this deliberate?

YAKEEB

Of course it was. My tantrums couldn’t bear staying numb anymore, you know how prisoners riot and escape the facility… Numb Tantrums is purposefully dysfunctional, writing the poems were therapeutic for me and c’mon, you tell your shrink everything. It’s a confession and every reader is a priest. Judge me, judge me not.

YNAIJA

Are you one of those poets for whom there is a distinct separation between your life and personal experiences and the work you create, or does it all bleed together? Because many of the poems in “Numb Tantrums” especially the ones you’ve shared with us come across as deeply personal. Do you think poets should have to separate the two?

YAKEEB

For me, it all bleeds together. I think existence in general is an art form. Every living creature has an artist within and mine is in the cockpit because it’s the only way I know how to navigate this life thing at the moment. There are other ways to be, so going forward the plot might twist.

I have a thing for dirty realism and I’m of the opinion that you can never take the soul away from art that comes from a personal place. Maybe for other forms of art, the separation could work.

YNAIJA

6. What are your plans for “Numb Tantrums” going forward?

YAKEEB

First off, to get a good book deal. Getting that is essential to the vision and purpose of Numb Tantrums. I want Numb Tantrums to power dirty realism in poetry. Initially, I kept my love affair with poetry secret because of the dysfunctionalities in form/style and content. Asides Dee Sunshine who I stumbled upon in the realms of the world wide web, I felt like an alien writing poetry. These are fucked up times we live in but it’s also the age/era of acceptance. Nirvana’s Come As You Are is really the anthem now, as an idea. Rage on Kurt, wherever you are.

YNAIJA

Would you like to recommend to us, other young Nigerian poets we should check out?

YAKEEB

I know a few writers of poetry who aren’t poets in the traditional sense. That being said, I’m still trying to broaden my horizons to know what other young poets like myself are up to.

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