Abu Sense @AbuSense_) is a storyteller; in whichever form and on whatever platform that allows for stories to be told. He is a husband to himself and a wife to the world, with whom he raises their children who are molded in the form of ideas.

1. Did you always know you wanted to be a poet/writer?

I didn’t and still don’t. I had long standing challenges on picking a medium through which I’d express myself but eventually felt at home when I begun writing. I consider the overall craft as storytelling as opposed to being a poet, which is a personal belief that I’m able to dock onto a variety of platforms and not be restricted to just one.

2. What is your creative process like?

Mute any device that would threaten to distract me from the objective, however, I don’t necessarily opt for the quiet, out of town dimly lit room to create. In fact, I cherish the matatu rides and especially the window seat; once I plug in my earphones, I pick out a random playlist and continue skipping to the songs that are relevant to what I intend to create content for, and songs that I simply like listening to.

3. How much do your life experiences influence your work?

All of it! I’m yet to complete my studies but I have completed every day of my life up to now. In each of those days, I learned. The stock of experiences in my memory is the biggest source of content. Of course, I litmus test the credibility and truth of my work to see if my variation has ever been done before sharing.

4. Who are your favourite poets and why?

My answer for this is a continuum to the answer to your previous question. Musicians are my favorite poets. Specifically, Lupe Fiasco and currently Logic, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino (mostly this guy). I understand purists will crucify me for this, but what the heck. Provoke.

Their styles are remarkably admirable. Moreover, they aren’t confined within placed boundaries and definitions, hence their work is consistently fresh, fulfilling and relevant (to me).

5. What are your thoughts on poetry in Kenya, what challenges have you faced as a poet and how do you think we can improve on the craft?

Poetry has certainly improved. Evidenced by the showcase of the new and seasoned poets. The craft has changed from pushing rhyme to containing substance and flow of ideas.

Platforms only, are not enough to improving the craft. The content needs marketing for sustenance. The main hindrance now is how to earn from poetry and storytelling as well as attracting, reaching  and appealing to as many people as possible.

6. You are part of a production, ‘We Won’t Forget’ on Terrorism and Post-Election Violence and was also part of the Ngugi wa Thiong’o adaptation with Jalada. What has the experience of preparing for these performances been like?

When I’d been briefed by Ngartia on what to write on, he did not mention the productions rather he presented it as a challenge, furthermore he never even attempted to show any indication of it being a performance piece. So I wrote a story intended for a comic book at first. Days after, is when I received the formal invitation to join the cast therefore prompting me to derive a performance piece from the initial story I wrote. I really wanted to rap it out but was asked to pull my head out of my rectum by the director, Wanjiku Mwawagunga, and she was absolutely right!

Preparing for it on a weekly basis draws me closer to the character and his place in the overall narrative on terror and how it is perceived by many different people in Kenya, as portrayed by the brilliant cast members: Ngartia, Laura Ekumbo, William Mwangi, Star Oranga and Bobby Mbage.

How I was approached had similarities to when Christopher Nolan presented his brief to Hans Zimmer to score music for Interstellar. I just thought you should know.

Upright Revolution, the Ngugi wa Thiong’o adaptation was an incredible opportunity. I performed in front of the man himself and fought to contain my excitement lest I forgot my lines as he wore the widest smile. He was proud, happy and stared at me, and every other performer who stepped on stage before and after me, in awe.

7. You also work in a creative agency. Does that in any way hinder your creative output as far as writing and performance are concerned?

Creative agencies offer structure and direction to creativity. Two vital components.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to work for three agencies and have since applied the lessons to my work. The only issue is that one is constantly bombarded with information and quick turnarounds and timelines that do not allow for creative juices to blend into a desirable flavor, which in turn leads to the creation of template ideas.

8. What work/project are you most proud of?

Struggling to choose between Love taken to a mysterious place and nkt___NEWS. Two ambitious, ahead of their time projects that launched me deeper into storytelling, poetry and film. ‘LTMP’ details the Journey of Mahmoud and Zawadi, a young couple who conflict on the definitions of progress, economic as well as technological advancement and righteousness in a village that harbors a device that could power up cities instead of being underused to power up water pumps. nkt___NEWS was the equivalent to John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight show, at least that’s how I envisioned it.

9. What advice would you give an aspiring poet that you wish you had gotten when you were starting out?

Be as vulnerable as you can!

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Deeply meshed into art!

There are a line up of exciting projects coming up, ranging from film, a comic book, documentaries, a magazine show and web series (possibly a novel as well). All of them have working titles, but I shall not reveal their particulars just yet.

The soonest to come project is WE WON’T FORGET on April 13th at Alliance Francaise. The show starts at 7pm and ticket details are on https://mymookh.com/tickets/event/326

Here’s a hint though, the month of May may be too early for birds.

Bonus Question

11. If you could have written any existing poem by another poet, which piece would you have written and why?

Dumb it down by Lupe Fiasco. It takes a stab at the existing consumerism habit of being fed chewed up information which makes the mind lazy enough not to think.

Check out Abu Sense’s profile and work below.

Medium : Giant White Panda or @AbuSense_

Facebook: Abu Sense

Instagram: @Sens_ei

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Abu Sense @AbuSense_) is a storyteller; in whichever form and on whatever platform that allows for stories to be told. He is a husband to himself and a wife to the world, with whom he raises their children who are molded in the form of ideas. 1. Did you always...