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Friday, September 21, 2018

Life + Arts

‘Wordweaver’ alumnus threads humanity in poetry


Ayokunle Falomo - Author Picture (Color)

As he works to finish his Masters Degree in School Psychology at Sam Houston State, Houston alumnus Ayokunle Falomo searches for what makes us human through his poetry. | Courtesy of Ayokunle Falomo

Ayokunle Falomo is a UH psychology alumnus who also studied poetry in his undergraduate career.

Now a published poet with his first book “thread, this wordweaver must!,” Falomo will celebrate  with a book signing at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Dean’s Downtown, located at 316 Main St.

The Cougar: Where are you from?

Ayokunle Falomo: I am originally from a small town in Nigeria, and, since November of 2007, I have called Houston home. At the present moment, my time is split between Houston and Huntsville where I’m finishing up my master’s in school psychology at Sam Houston State University.

TC: What did you study here at UH?

AF: Most people naturally assume that I studied Creative Writing or something related to that, but are often shocked when I tell them that I studied Psychology. For a while, I was not able to see the connection between the two somewhat unrelated fields, (until) I realized the question I have always wanted to find an answer to: “What makes us human?”

TC: Why did you decide to become a poet, and how long have you written poetry?

AF: I didn’t and couldn’t call myself a poet until (2012), at which point my friends already started to introduce me as one. Before then, I was just a guy that wrote some poems I didn’t want to share with anybody. I couldn’t be just the guy that wrote poetry anymore, I was now a poet.

TC: What inspired you to write the poems in your book?

AF: “thread, this wordweaver must!” came from the desire to hear how our stories, though individual, are actually related. I noticed that the more I told my stories, the more I saw how they could easily be in some shape or form any person’s, and I was interested in hearing those stories as told by other people. I liken each person’s stories to threads that make up a tapestry. Mine may very well be blue, and yours may be green but at the end of the day, weaving these threads together results in the creation of a beautiful tapestry.

TC: Why does your poetry focus on threads and connections?

AF: It’s a curse and a gift to see connections, especially where other people don’t. And that’s what I spend a lot of time doing with my poems, exploring and attempting to find the connection, especially between otherwise unrelated things. The joy and the reward, however, is in the connection it creates with another human, where they can say, “Hey, me too…”

There’s a compulsion that drives me; I just have to write. As I shared in the opening poem of the collection, “Pints of blood are lost/ as I write these words/ but/ I do this/ to stay alive…/ I am Human/ And I write poems.” Though it takes a lot from one to pour out so much of oneself onto the page, it, in some weird way, is the only way to stay alive.

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