Titilope Sonuga

Titilope Sonuga's picture
Photo credit: 
Dirk Skiba
Biography: 

Titilope Sonuga is a poet and performer whose work has graced stages and pages across the globe. Through her practice, she grasps for moments of tenderness and persistent joy at the intersection of blackness and womanhood. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Down to Earth (2011)Abscess (2014) and This Is How We Disappear (2019) and has released two spoken word albums, Mother Tongue (2011) and Swim (2019). Titilope is the writer of three plays, The Six; an intergenerational exploration of womanhood, Naked; a one-woman play and Ada The Country, a musical. She has facilitated numerous youth and adult poetry workshops locally and internationally.  Her writing has been translated into Italian, German and Slovak.

Micro-interview: 
Did you read poetry when you were in high school? Is there a particular poem that you loved when you were a teenager?: 

I read lots of poetry in high school. Because of the kind of poetry we read, I thought that all poetry was inaccessible, difficult to decode, a language far out of my reach, until I encountered Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf. It is a poem/play/epic that broke my world wide open and I fell in love with writing in a way that changed my life.

When did you first start writing poetry? And then when did you start thinking of yourself as a poet?: 

I have always written. Songs, stories, poems. My earliest memory of storytelling is as a young girl, maybe 8 years old. I didn't begin to consider myself a poet until years later, the first time I read something I had written out loud and saw and felt the way it was responded to. I was 20.

What do you think a poet’s “job” is?: 

A poet's job is to give meaning to the world. To reflect the times. To remind us how we lived and loved. To make room for pain and suffering but also for hope and healing.

If you have a poem in our anthology what inspired you to write it?: 

"I Am" is one of the first poems I wrote and read out loud. It is a poem that was born out of a desire to affirm the things I knew to be true about myself, in a world that tried to tell me otherwise. It is a celebration.

If you had to choose one poem to memorize from our anthology, which one would it be?: 

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Publications: 
Title: 
THIS IS HOW WE DISAPPEAR
Publisher: 
WRITE BLOODY NORTH
Editors: 
ALESSANDRA NACCARATO
Date: 
APRIL 2019
Publication type: 
Book
Title: 
ABSCESS
Publisher: 
GEKO PUBLISHING
Editors: 
RAPHAEL D'ABDON
Date: 
2011
Publication type: 
Book
Title: 
THE GREAT BLACK NORTH - CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN CANADIAN POETRY
Publisher: 
FRONTENAC HOUSE
Editors: 
VALERIE MASON-JOHN, KEVAN CAMERON
Date: 
FEBRUARY, 2013
Publication type: 
Anthology