Dami Ajayi
Photo: Box Office Studios

Dami Ajayi, psychiatrist, poet and music and literary critic, sold out copies of his collection A Woman’s Body Is A Country last year at the Goethe-Institut Artistic Encounters in Kenya. And back in his country, he is the most known poet among his contemporaries, inspiring the next generation of poets who look up to him. So we invited him at Praxis magazine on our podcast features for a chat on poetry, about our gatekeepers in writing, the music industry, and a bit of mental health. When asked how his profession as a psychiatrist influences his poetry he answers rather, that, poetry influences his profession. To him, being a poet, an artist or a person of creative stock means one is interested in human beings in ways that go beyond fascination and what one feels about specimens, to internalise experiences and to become empathic. This has helped him build good relationships with his patients. In this podcast, too, is a conversation about the conflict between the old and new poets: conservatism versus progressive—Do the old guys think the new poets are too avant-garde and refuse to support them? Do the young poets feel this way? Here’s Dami Ajayi’s experience about the usage of the ampersand (&) in his poetry: An older writer tells him, “That is not right.” He will disqualify D.A.’s work on any prize he’s a judge. Near absence of a poetry prize in the country? How Fela’ s Afrobeat without “s” is faring? The link between creative people and suicide? Dami’s interaction here shows he is a well rounded human being. 

Brought to you by Praxis Podcast Series in partnership with Box Office Studios. 

In the podcast: Tee Jay Dan and Dami Ajayi. 

Runtime: 48m 28s. 

Listen below.

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