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The evolution of Dami Ajayi


“Why choose one when I can be both”? This is how Dami, born of parents both from the same town in Ondo State, who studied medicine at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, responds to whether or not he could choose between been a coctor or a poet. When you hear he is a doctor and a poet, it raises an eyebrow as to what medicine has got to do with poetry. Nonetheless, his sophomore collection after Clinical Blues transcends the plane of uncertainty.

He is a lover of soul food, the kind of music that carries deep meaningful lyrics, dipped in precise and rich rhythm that you can bob your head to even if it were in a strange language. It is from one such, Rex Lawson’s Jolly papa he got the nickname Jolly papa. A whole lot of music reviews of the old and new are also available to his credit.

After his first purgation, reflections on love, unrequited love, death earned him the ANA Poetry and Melisa Manuscript Prize, Ajayi has blossomed into something more, much more influenced by music, which explains the less existential lyrical nature of his second offering, less exuberant, and a bit older is how he describes himself to have evolved.

Very bold to say that the new work, three less than fifty, is far different from the first one comparatively. “It was more fun to write, it is a happier book and a shorter book and he hopes everyone will connect,” says Ajayi.

The physician-writer is also a co-founder of Saraba magazine, which was presented at the recent 2017 Ake Book and Arts Festival. The decision to go physical was informed by series of activities that took place in the last three years prior to having operated online. For, Ajayi there was enough time to prepare for this

and the time is just ripe to tick that part of the bucket list as much as to expose some great works privy to Saraba Manuscript Prize and experience the satisfaction of a print copy.

While his writing career seems to be enviable at the moment, Jolly papa is excited about the Nigerian  literary scene, Lagos in particular, where a whole lot is happening, and he feels there is no better time to be a creative person.

Something else the world needs more of, according to the writer, are more poems, plays and prose, and he is quite enthusiastic about  his A woman’s Body is a country where, like other poets, he has laid down his obsession with words, language in the brevity and clarity. His poetry is for everyone who lets themselves in. It is not

something to prescribe or served hot or chill: Ajayi has written something better and more fun, and it is okay to become a fan of one who heals with words like medicine.


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July 2018
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