AWAAL GATA poses nine questions to Jamila Saleh, a budding poet from Gombe, whose poems are dearly followed on social media
Who is Jamila Saleh?
I was born and brought up in Gombe. I attended Jekadafari primary school, Gombe and later GDSS Nassarawo where I had my secondary school education. I have an NCE in Home Economics from Federal College of Education, Gombe. I am a teacher and a budding writer.
With the public reception your writing is getting, would you say that what you envisaged at the time you started is on course?
For the budding writers, the trend is that only their families and friends are the early audience. It is the same with me but with a little difference. I write and post on social media and people in their dozens read, appreciate and give feedbacks. That is exciting and encouraging. The whole thing has gone miles beyond my expectation.
Where and where have they reached and what sort of comment do you receive?
With ‘miles’ I didn’t mean I got published or traveled somewhere: mmy works are basically shared on social media like Facebook and WhatsApp. People do share and appreciate them.
I often present my works during meetings at Gombe Jewel Writers Association and the Creative Club of Gombe State University and whenever I do, whether in English or Hausa, almost everyone tries to comment. Just recently, a senior poet told me that my poems are showing glimpses of greatness. I was proud and won’t allow the tempo to mellow.
How did you become a poet?
It happened accidentally: I wanted to write in prose form but poetry kept materialising, and I did not stress it. Since each of the genres are for the expression of feelings, I embraced the one that is easier for me.
Since when I was in the primary school, any book that came my way, I read. Later, the urge to mimic what I read overwhelmed me, then i started writing. As the passion grew, I started mingling with people with related passion. The empathy has been shaping me.
Who were the poets you liked when you started and why?
Aisha Abubakar Imam, Maryam Gatawa and Naseeba Babale, probably because their poems are simple and precise.
But these are also upcoming poets and writers; what about more established ones?
I still see them as mentors, since they senior me in the game. I also like Sir Umar Saleh Gwani and Umar Yogiza Jr.
Where do you want to see yourself as a writer eventually?
I just want to be read far and near. I have messages I want to pass to the whole world.
What have been your challenges?
So far I can say i am facing no challenge; since I stepped into writing, things have been going my way.
What are you working on now?
I have a chap book already; i am now working on the second one it should be ready early next year.