One of my favorite poets is award winning Nigerian writer Ben Okri, who also won the Booker Prize for his novel The Famished Road.
His poetry book Mental Fight, published in 1999, came at the just the right moment for me. I heard him read from it one night, his rich voice filling the room. His words encapsulated my feelings of needing to finish one life and start another. It was perhaps the catalyst that enabled me to resign my international consultancy job and go traveling. I left in May 2000 and have only recently returned to London, a changed person after 11 years away. It’s a book I go back to time and time again.
In this video, Okri talks about his writing.
Note his pauses. This to me is the mark of someone who thinks definitely before he speaks. I’m not like this. It’s something I would like to learn. It’s a deep consideration of words.
“As a writer, my life’s journey has been to try to catch all at once as many levels of the mysterious and beautiful things that make us human”
“a story is an interval in the enchantment of living”
“my writing isn’t about what is on the page, it’s intended to take you somewhere, it’s your journey to that somewhere. The journey is the point.”
Do you have any particular poets that you love? What can we learn from poets as writers of prose?