Magda Ayuk is a poet, a self-care and financial literacy advocate, and a journalist. Her writing is underpinned by spirituality, race, gender, and love. In her free time, she flirts with the art of burlesque, music, and theater.
VLM – Does writing energize or exhaust you? Writing energizes me. I love pouring myself into new pieces. Creating is my purpose.
VLM – Have you ever gotten reader’s block? No, I enjoy reading. Sometimes, I get super busy, and I don’t make the time to read, though.
VLM – If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be? Read, read and read! I sing as well. The singers you listen to can really influence your singing style. The same goes for writing.
VLM – How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? This has been a process and a half! When I thought I had finished writing Blue Bird, I started reading lots of work produced during the Harlem Renaissance. And that made me make so many changes to my book. I’m excited to start a new writing project. This time, though, my goal is to find a literary agent.
VLM – What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? I’ve always been interested in writing. I wrote my first poem about a Bluebird when I was eight years old. It actually got published. It was pretty basic, though. It was about a Bluebird eating bread crumbs near a park bench.
VLM -What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? My favorite novel of all time is Half of a Yellow Sun. No other novel has managed to move me the way that book has. It did win awards, though. And it was turned into a movie, but I think more people need to read it. Adichie is an amazing storyteller.
VLM – What does literary success look like to you? It means living the life of my dreams. I want to create full-time. I want people to be touched by what I create. Langston Hughes said that poetry can make you think. And if it makes people think, it might make them think constructive thoughts, thoughts about how to change themselves, their town and their state. If my poetry and the projects I involve myself in inspire change, that to me would be a success.
VLM – If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? Right now, I teach. I also love theatre, burlesque, and singing. My dream career would involve those three art forms.
VLM – Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? I do! The first bad one I read blew my mind actually. The reviewer said I was fake and she mentioned some poets and said they’d roll in their grave if they knew that I was calling what I did poetry. It baffled me because Africans have a history of storytelling. And I didn’t understand why she was comparing me to white men who were dead. No offense to the poets she mentioned.
VLM – What one thing would you give up to become a better writer? I’d give up my full-time job. So, I could have more time to write. The aim is to do that once my creative endeavors can sustain me.
Hear our interview with Poet Magda Ayuk
Blue Bird is Canadian storyteller Magda Ayuk’s debut collection of poetry and prose. Blue Bird is the necessary and enduring journey of self-love. Ayuk explores this journey through the intersectional pulses of freedom, race, and gender. Blue Bird is the gentle reminder that we are all light beings, and deserve the peace we seek. Blue Bird is warmed by Ayuk’s Cameroonian roots, which drip magic on every page.
Magda Ayuk’s book of poetry and prose, Blue Bird, is both a political statement and a spiritual journey to self-love and healing in the face of oppression. It launches April 2018, which is National Poetry Month, on the 17th. Magda is currently based in Seoul, South Korea. You can find more of her work on Instagram @magdaayuk.