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Image / Living / Culture

Five minute’s with Longford spoken word artist Felispeaks


By Lauren Heskin
16th Apr 2021

Al Higgins

Five minute’s with Longford spoken word artist Felispeaks

In the new spring issue of IMAGE magazine Tony Clayton-Lea meets up with Nigerian-born, Longford-based spoken word artist Felicia Olusanya, aka Felispeaks. Here, she shares insights into her creative process with us, along with a moving performance of ‘Still’ – a piece she wrote inspired by our evolving lives in a Covid-19 world.

I think I’ve always written in poetry. I don’t think there’s a point in time where I realised I wrote my first poem. I think my way of expressing myself was always in poetry first – I only learned how to do the rest after. I don’t think there was any particular thing that inspired me or acted as a trigger, it was just the way thoughts formed in my head. I used to call my diaries my ‘Book of Thoughts’; I didn’t classify my writing as poetry until I was about 16.

I found a community online before I found a community in person. When I was in my late teens I was drawn to other people I discovered online who seemed to think like me, and who created a whole world of art around something that I felt very comfortable with. Once I realised I was writing poetry I started purposefully investigating other people who did similar. 


I didn’t think about the scene as something I needed to break into. I think because I was so unaware of how big the world I was trying to break into was, what I didn’t know didn’t affect me, I didn’t feel intimidated. I saw the arts scene as something to journey into and explore, as a writer, as a performer, as anything I wanted to be.

There are so many other female writers and poets in Ireland that I really admire. There are so many great writers in Ireland, but I don’t know of a lot of spoken-word artists here. My first introduction to spoken-word poetry came from America’s Slam Circuit, big inspirations for me would be; Jasmine Mans, Jackie Hill Perry, Sarah Kay and Andrea Gibson. Watching the Biden inauguration, along with the rest of the world, I felt so excited to see a talented, beautiful black woman able to share her gift with the world, in that special moment. I’m glad that there is an Amanda Gorman among us, and I am glad that there are many more coming.

My parents and family are very supportive of my career. There wasn’t a specific moment where I declared, “I am going to be a spoken word artist” as it wasn’t a cemented role that I could ask or demand to be a part of yet. So I think how they reacted in general to my exploration of poetry was that it was cool as long as I could take care of myself. I think where I am now, as a professional artist, I think my parents are really proud because I’ve managed to create a niche for myself, and create a spot for myself in this artform enough for me to adequately take care of myself. And that’s what any parent wants, so they are happy that I am able to do that.

Pick up a copy of the new spring issue of IMAGE magazine, in shops now.