We had a few questions for this last week’s featured poet: Eric Onyango Otieno “Rix Poet”. Below is the wonderful transcript.
• How can you describe yourself in a summarized manner?
I’m a simple man who’s passionate about the things he does.
• When did you pen your first independent piece (away from school work)?
I wrote my first poem in 2004. Had been expelled from school and was going through a lot of things at home. I’ve been an introvert for the longest time I know, and I had to find a way of releasing my feelings.
• What inspires your writing?
My writing is inspired by many things; from coins falling in a matatu to the dreams I had last night of me walking on the moon. I like finding pleasure and inspiration in the simplest of things, and sometimes the silliest.
• Apart from writing what else do you do?
Apart from writing, I perform poetry. J Well, I am an event organizer for #FatumasVoice – still coming to terms with that title, and the Managing Director of Kenyan Poets Lounge. I am now also doing radio poetry at Venus 101.9 FM. My life is majorly centered on poetry.
• Do you have any A.K.As/stage names?
My stage name is Rixpoet.
• What do you think is man’s greatest invention?
Ha-ha. That’s a tricky one. There are many great inventions that complement each other, like the way whoever came up with the idea of laptops isn’t the same person who invented modems. But I’d say inventing the internet was a major breakthrough into connecting the world. I can now talk to someone two worlds away instantly regardless of time and distance.
• Who would you term as a Kenyan hero? Why?
There are many Kenyan heroes. One of them, in my opinion, is Dedan Kimathi. He gave out his life for us quite literally.
• If the world ended today, what would you be up to?
Ha-ha. I’d write poems to God telling Him that I really wanna get to heaven so we could talk about the many things I’ve been longing to hear from Him, like why the earth had to be the third planet from the sun and how He came up with 24 hours as the length of a day. He would have made it 30 or something.
• What’s your furthest memory backwards?
I have a lot of those, but one of them is finishing half a loaf of bread when I was six years old that dad had bought for the two of us to share. I had thought he had brought it for me because he stepped out when he put it on the table. There was nothing left when he came back and the nigga was broke. He had to take dubia. Ha-ha. I doubt if he remembers that incident.
• If you were a cartoon character, which would that be?
Ha! That would have to be Pink Panther. He does his things silently, like a fool, but he knows what he’s doing and enjoys himself at it.
• Three words to describe your brain?
The deepest thing.
• If you were to get a slap for every moment you wished you did something differently how sore would you be?
Gosh! I would be walking with a painful face. I make mistakes – many. And the challenge is to find those people who honestly let me know of my weaknesses.
• That song that never gets boring to your ears?
Dandora L.O.V.E – Zakah&Kah (UkooFlani)
• What do you fancy most: writing or performing (poetry)?
I honestly cannot separate the two because they come with unique experiences. There wouldn’t be a performance without a write up. When I’m writing and when I’m on stage are both extraordinary occasions which are two but I cannot fancy one more than the other. I am married to my art like that.
• What is that thing you did as a kid you wish you still would?
Kukula mchanga. Hehe!
• What do you think of the Kenyan creative and artistic industry?
Kenya’s artistic industry is growing immensely. However, I feel it is important for artists to spend more time mastering their art than putting how much their art could bring them. Quality sells, but most of us do not fathom that. We want to finish our works hurriedly, showcase it hurriedly, be known and make money all at the same time. But good art is never really in a hurry. I have learnt that if one wants to be able to employ precision into their work, they must first master the art of patience.
• Who’s that character you wish you’d pull out of the screen/book and elope with?
Wait. My girlfriend will see this? Do I have to answer? Hehe. Okay, Brenda Wairimu. *hides*Amaningesemamtuwamajuundionikuwe safe?
• Any random question you’d like to ask the world?
Why would anyone kill someone because they belong to a religion that’s different from theirs?