Writer/Poet/Interior design architect
“By the way I don’t see myself as a poet. I see myself more as a writer, no, more like a creative person. If I am a poet, then I see myself as more of a neo-soul poet.”
What were you doing five minutes ago?
Hmmm … designing, replying e-mails and reading – all at the same time. I’m quite impatient, you see, and can be quite restless – I always have to be busy.
Interior design architecture and poetry, is there a connection?
Yup, they are both arts. You have to have that creative niche to be able to do either.
What can I expect when I pick up Rhythm Of My Rhyme? What’s unique about it?
Someone who has already read it said and I quote “I am sure it will receive acclaim from those it speaks volumes to and create sufficient amount of discomfort to those it is meant to unsettle.” She couldn’t have said it better.
Do you have a favourite poem in Rhythm Of My Rhyme?
I think I have two – I Am Not Alone and I Keep On Loving.
Who is your all time favourite poet?
I’d say Jill Scott – to me she is a poet extraordinaire. Her music speaks volumes. She is so soulful and passionate.
You also write short stories, what comes easier poetry or prose?
Prose, Lol. I don’t have to think as much – about the flow etc and I hate thinking, LoL.
What’s your creative process?
Hmmm … if its poetry I prefer to have some music in the background, particularly neo soul. Actually, even with prose. Music moves me. Interesting though I get most of my ideas when it’s totally quiet – when I’m sleeping, that is.
Do you think that the East African poetic experience is the same all through or do you sense some differences between Tanzanian, Kenyan and Ugandan poets?
I think it’s different. In the sense that when it comes to reading as a whole I know Kenyans are really into reading and I think the same goes for Uganda; Tanzanians are slowly getting there. But when it comes to poetry, it depends – we have the spoken word poetry, which we hear through music etc, with this I would say the experience is the same throughout the three countries; however, when it comes to written poetry, then I would say what I said about the reading culture in the three countries.
Being from TZ where Swahili sanifu is the lingua franca why did you choose to write in English? Haaa haaa! Swahili is so hard to write, especially Swahili sanifu! It’s such a rich and beautiful language that you just can’t afford to mess up even a bit. If I can’t do something I never attempt it. Writing Swahili will be like committing suicide – it’s that hard!
Have any personal experiences ever found their way into your work?
I write what I see, what I hear and sometimes what I experience. I’d say most of the poems under The Great Orgasm are my experience.
What’s on your playlist? What kind of music do you find particularly inspiring?
It varies – in my studio Jill Scott, Jill Scott, Jill Scott, LoL! … And some Heather Headley, India Arie; in my car – house music (I love the loudness and aliveness, LoL!); in my lounge some Jill Scott,Keith Sweat etc
What would you like to be written on your epitaph?
Lol! Here smiles (NOT lies!) the crazy (my friends believe I am) person who lived life and didn’t let life live her.
Sandra Mushi is a Tanzanian writer/ poet and architect. She recently published her poetry anthology Rhythm Of My Rhyme this year. The book launched in Dar Es Salaam wil soon be available locally. If you would like to get your Kenyan copy contact Erica on 0721-622697