If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off , I knew that is poetry -Emily Dickinson
As we celebrate International poetry day, we need to acknowledge and appreciate the amazing poets around us who have been writing pieces that have spoken to our hearts and soul. There is a misconception that there aren’t many female poets in northern Nigeria, but that is not true.
We have handpicked just a few poets to look out for in Arewa in no particular order.
MARYAM SA’EED OTUH
Maryam Sa’eed Otuh is a writer, a poet and a blogger. She is a contributor for Penprofile and the author of the Chapbook ‘Of Flowers like Cactus’ on Okadabooks which she describes as an ‘embodiment of the truth’ and it is. She participated in the 2019 Spring Literary Movement Workshop. Her poems are rich in their writing style and subject matter.
NABILAH ALEXIS USMAN
Nabilah is a radio presenter and a lover of all things art as well as ice cream. She strongly believes in family, second chances and a good work ethic. She studied mass communication for her first degree and spends most of her free time writing and editing. She is an amazing poet and an overall intelligent young woman.
Nabilah is also the director of Programmes at African Writers Development Trust.
HASSANA UMORU MAINA
Hassana Umoru Maina was born on 17th of April. She obtained a law degree at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She is a pioneer member of the ArewaMeToo campaign which is a campaign aimed at ending sexual violence. She leads a team of vibrant young women and men in Maiduguri where they go to both conventional and Islamic schools creating awareness, with the aim to curb sexual violence.
Hassana Umoru Maina has been a guest at literary events and has sat on different panels such as Kaduna Books and Arts Festival, Yasmin El Rufai Foundation, Ahmadu Bello University Day of Literature, Women for Women Event etc sharing her wisdom with the rest of us mortals.
You will find her poetry videos on YouTube.
HAUWA SHAFFI’I NUHU
Hauwa Shafi’I Nuhu is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared online and in print on platforms such as Popula, Ake Review , After The Pause Journal , Brittle paper , Eunoia Review , Selves Anthology ,Afridiaspora, and elsewhere .
She participated in the 2018 Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency and the maiden edition of the 2018 YELF-Gusau Institute Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Ishmael Beah. She is currently at the Nigerian Law School and looks forward to a future where beautiful sentences are edible.
Yinlaifa Edolo is a burst of energy. She is a lover of words who aims to tell stories through different media. She is a singer/songwriter, poet and shows the underbelly of everyday life through gentle telling. She believes in the fluidity of life and value of choices and wishes the world would live and let live.
ANGELA ONOZARE UMORU
Angela is a content creator, essayist, poet and prose writer whose works has been featured in the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival Anthology 2014, Poets in Nigeria’s Top 100 poems from Nigerian Students 2016, and Writers Magazine 2017/2018.
Her romance with the written word has spanned over a decade and though she has not decided if she will ever publish her two full-length manuscripts (written in 2012 and 2014); she hopes she keeps inspiring many with her work.
She is a communication Strategist by day and resides in Abuja. She is also the author of ‘ Of Dungeons and Dark Places ‘ a short story collection on Okadabooks and runs a podcast ‘Angie’s Two Kobos ‘ where she dissects contemporary issues .
AISHA KABIRU MOHAMMED
Aisha Kabiru Mohammed is a law student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She is a writer and a poet published in Agbowo art, Syncity and The Creative Writers Club Kongo’s Anthology. She is the Assistant Secretary General of the Creative Writers Club, Kongo and the winner of the Andrew Nok Poetry Prize 2019.
She is passionate about women and children’s rights. She is also a student activists working with Amnesty International Abuja and CENDAL Nigeria.
Maryam Bukar is popularly known as Alhanislam and the list will definitely be incomplete without her. We can say she is one of the most popular spoken word artists in Arewa. She is a writer, poet and motivational speaker and also the founder of Deen at Heart, Alhanislam creations, Variety Tea and Spices and the Co founder of Creative Kiddies.
She had performed at major events and festivals across the world. With her bright personality and powerful words, she has captured a lot of hearts with her poetry. She is also an activist on violence against women and she released her spoken word album in 2017 called ‘In the Heart of Silence.’
HAUWA SALEH ABUBAKAR
Hauwa Saleh Abubakar is a writer and poet . You will find her ranting about women’s rights and feminism or scribbling down poems and stories with bad jokes and Harry Potter references . She is into performance poetry and when you ask her what she writes , she usually tells you in this order: poetry , stories and will sometimes say she is ‘experimenting’ with creative non fiction . She was shortlisted twice for the Nigerian Student’s Poetry Prize and her works have appeared in a few publications .
She is a contributor for Jaruma Magazine and Penprofile as well as the author of the poetry collection ‘ How To Practice Forgetting ‘ on Okadabooks and she aims to make people ‘feel something’ with her works .
SUMAYYAH ILLIYASU JA’EH
Sumayyah is the cofounder and the Creative Director of Open Arts Foundation . she participated in the Gusau Institute /Yasmin El-Rufa’i Foundation writing workshop 2017 as well as the Yasmin El Rufa’I Writing workshop 2018 . her works have been published in journals and other platforms . she reads , writes amazing poetry and host literary events ion Kaduna .
She is also a fellow of AMLA 2018
This is an incomplete list as there are many talented poets all over the country but the above poets are good at what they do and deserve to be acknowledged for their talents .
Daisy Odey is a poet and performer from Jos. She has performed poetry across the country and is also initiator/team lead of the Jos Poetry Slam (JPS) movement and the Cofounder of Custodians of African Literature (COAL)
She is the author of the Chapbook ‘Fragments In a Closet’ and her poems have appeared in Kalahari Review , Saraba, Afridiaspora , Ake Review and other publications .
Jasmine-Jade is a young writer and a poet that’s bent on changing the world, one mind at a time. She periodically publishes her short stories and other musings on her blog and is a recent graduate of Aircraft Engineering. She has graced stages across Northern Nigeria, including the prestigious Kaduna Book and Arts Festival.
Jasmine-Jade is currently signed to Ryt Path Co. and is set to release her debut poetry project titled: “Body. Mind. Soul.”
When she’s not cheating on engineering with literature, she sings.