Saddiq Dzukogi kicked off the Fall Reading Series at the Criss Library on Wednesday night by reading pieces out of his poetry collection, “Your Crib, My Qibla.”
As people began to arrive at the Criss Library, Dzukogi was surprised at how many people showed up to support him on Wednesday night for the reading. Dzukogi began reading out of his poetry collection that pays tribute to the passing of his daughter. After just a few minutes of him reading, you could tell this collection meant everything to him.
Dzukogi described his collection as not only a place for him to grieve his daughter, but also a place for him to scream and let emotions out. It was truly inspiring the way he was able to make everyone else feel something through his words. With people being able to relate to him and his grief, so many hearts were touched by each of his pieces.
“Grief is a very personal journey,” Dzukogi said.
He mentioned that when people lose loved ones, it is extremely difficult to tell others how that experience has been and what has helped them in the process. What helps Dzukogi is to cry and to allow himself to be vulnerable because where he is from, there’s an urge to be strong, but he says, “sometimes the greatest strength is to succumb to the emotion we are feeling.”
Dzukogi explained that he didn’t start reading until the age of 11, which caused his friends to tease him. Shortly after the age of 11 is when he began to write poetry and was finally able to get back at his friends by saying “now I am writing what other people are reading.”
When asked about his writing process, Dzukogi said it can be a bit chaotic as he thinks of himself as a very spontaneous person. Sometimes he finds his lines in the shower and will rush out before even drying off to write down his thoughts, other times he really enjoys walking the trails in Lincoln where he does the most writing and gets inspired by nature and the scenery around him.
The 32-year-old poet from Nigeria now attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he is a graduate student specializing in creative writing with a concentration in ethnic studies and serves as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Prairie Schooner. Dzukogi’s poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Society of America and other literary journals and magazines.
“Your Crib, My Qibla” is an African poetry book series and was published March of 2021. This collection can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online formats as well.
What’s next for Dzukogi? He is a huge fan of Nebraska and plans to continue writing about how it is raising a family in a different country, as well as his experiences here in Nebraska. Stay tuned as the Fall Reading Series continues Oct. 6th!