BM’s SePOETember Feature – Burundi’s Ivan Irakoze

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Ivan is not only from Burundi but was born in Bujumbura and has lived in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania and now Nairobi, Kenya. I first met him when I came across Ink Overflow and then when he was featured on KwaniOpenMic and since then I have followed his poetic journey which I dare say is trailblazing. Its not everyday you get an African who writes poetry in French. He’s a poet, spoken word artist, the 58th #SlamAfrica King, #HisWordsMyMuse Writer, #InkOverflow CEO & Co-Founder and other interesting things…

10 random facts about Ivan no one knows except of course Me.

– His middle name is Joel

– His left legs still shakes on stage even though he’s been performing for more than 2 years!

– Hated writing love poems until love happened.

– His favorite food is pepper steak and fries (ahem, if anyone ever feels like inviting over and cooking for a brotha..lol)

– Never cried watching Titanic but did for Seven Pounds (lol)

– Greatest dancer in the privacy of his room but can’t dance in public and same applies to singing

– Missed slow jams. What ever happened to just holding someone in your arms and turning round instead of having someone grind and twerk on you? We need to bring slow jams back. (Amen to that bro)

– Still thinks he’s destined to be a superhero and powers just haven’t manifested yet (Yeah, right)

– Errmmm….wants to disappear one day to a deserted island and never return to civilization(Jury is still out on that one though)

Juliane Okot B’itek has just published a collection of poems, 100 Days. In what ways do you think that her poems reflect the true picture of the Rwandan genocide considering her roots as a Ugandan poet?

I can’t say that I’ve read her collection so I’m not in a position to give an informed opinion on her poems. But now that you’ve said that I’ll look for them.

  1. What poets do you continually go back to?

My pieces are greatly influenced by music – especially hip hop – and so the poets I really look up to and continually go back to are Tupac and Nas mainly.

  1. Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?

I’ve always considered poetry as an art form for self-expression so that hasn’t changed. I have learnt new poetry techniques and mediums since then.

  1. What are you trying to communicate with your poetry?

Me. I’m exposing myself, my thoughts, and my beliefs through my poetry. I am a product of my environment and this is what I present.

  1. Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?

Short films. Definitely short films. I’ve written scripts but haven’t started working on making them a reality.

  1. So, what have you written apart from poems? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

I’d say scripts and short stories though I haven’t shared those with anyone yet. All in due time.

  1. Where can we buy or see them? (* include relevant links)

I’ll let you know when I’m ready to share those.

  1. What are you working on at the minute?

Writing performance pieces. I haven’t done so in a while so now I’m just taking time to focus on that again.

  1. Do you write full-time or part-time?

I’d say it depends on the time of year probably. I alternate between writing or performing my own work, and organizing events, creating platforms for artists. I’m still learning how to balance the two sides.

  1. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I wrote my first poem at 11 years-old but didn’t write consistently until I was 20. I’d say I’ve evolved greatly in the last 6 years although I still wish I’d learnt and done more by now.

  1. Do you ever get “floetry” block?

Only after I’ve gone a while without writing.

  1. What’s your views on social media for marketing?

I think it’s great when it’s used correctly. I know it’s helped me a great deal in sharing my work and gaining a greater audience as well as discovering other talented poets/artists/musicians I now admire.

  1. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo because it’s friking The Godfather.

  1. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t asked?

September is my birthday month so you may all feel free to shower me with gifts. Just kidding… or am I?

  1. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

You can find my work on my blog (www.museedivan.wordpress.com), my Instagram (@ivanirakoze), my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ivan.irakoze.IO or just search ‘Ivan Irakoze’), my SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com/ivan-irakoze) and my Twitter handle (@IvanIrakoze)

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