Change and growth have found root in budding Onwuasoanya Chika, and the outcome is having two of his three wishes for the New Year checked already.
On stage, he goes by the name Chika Jones, a regular sight within the circle of book and word lovers.
Known with the low tidy cut, the half lgbo, half Yoruba-born poet has upped his style by showing off his newly grown dark legit. He revealed this on his lhstagram handle while he also announced the completion of his Chapbook. “I finally finished writing that poetry chapbook. It’s called Gifts of Salt”.
The new look came as a surprise, unlike the poetry he had been working on. It was one of his wishes to finish it this year, and, despite that it came early, he says he still has a lot of things to work on like having a show where all of his favorite poets can perform. In Gifts of Salt, he focuses on the Biafra War, what it took and what it gave back to the society.
Jones addresses social ills using a narrative style that allows him to experiment a lot, but it requires anger from him to talk about these things. I didn’t know how I now KT is like a mentor who exemplifies importance of excellence, dedication and work that matters like he preservation of dying languages. 1 like to perform poetry like am telling a story and, usually, am telling a story, sometimes several stories in one poem.
“It’s a bit prosaic, more prosaic than poetic; but performance poetry allows room for me to experiment.” Rarely does he want to stir any kind of emotions in people. “I usually just want to say my piece and go. It tends to feel like I am on a soapbox preaching to people, but I am working on that aspect of my voice. I don’t think I have found my voice yet and I also want to do work that doesn’t require anger, too,” he explains.
Spoken word and performance poetry are two different sides of a coin for him. For the most part, he says spoken word is alive and well in Nigeria while same can’t be said for performance acts.
“The younger ones are more interested in spoken word; the older ones grew up on performance poetry. So there is that confusion in expectations. That line needs to be drawn at least in our minds,” he says.
Nothing else matters when it comes to finding orderliness in a chaotic world. This is what poetry does for Jones. Poetry means different things to different people and, for him, “It’s finding beauty and strength in a world of chaos and turmoil. Writing poetry is distilling that beauty into words that come to me naturally, are simple and language that is not cliché.”
Some poems never get old; they require more or less words as it may demand for a good finish. The poet, though, admits that some poems come to him finished once in a while.
In the last year, the cat lover enjoyed reading One day I Will Write about this Place by Binyavanga Wainana and Lord of the flies by Andrea Gibson. But the best moment he had was “deciding to get married.”