‘If you took poetry from me, I wouldn’t recognise myself’

Guy Mambo is one of the original brains behind The Lantern Meet of Poets. He told Dennis D. Muhumuza about the magic of words and why he would be lost without poetry.

How did an architecture student end up pursuing poetry?
I was once told architecture is poetry in stone. I just have a fascination for words and phrases and life seems to be full of stories, so yeah, I write!

Does that mean architecture will be completely forgotten after campus?
Call me a dreamer; I was born to do architecture. Actually, I believe my being a poet makes me a better designer. So, no, I’ll pursue my career as an architect passionately and poetically.

How did the Lantern Meet of Poets idea come about?
Day dreaming - a very verbose and grandiloquent ranting with my friends about our passion for writing and how we always keep it in the dark for our own eyes and the need to share.

What goes into preparing a recital?
A lot of time; dedication, strong memory and bountiful of sacrifice, plus a steady knee!

Do you get to fascinate some girls with poetic lines?
Just “some girls”? Let me answer that with two lines from one of my poems: ‘My words that you question without the benefit of your voice/my words that linger, and leave you no choice’.

How important is poetry to you?
It quite manifests in each and everything I do; if you remove poetry from me, I wouldn’t recognise myself...or so I think.

When were you happiest?
When Mnet’s Studio 53 said they’d feature our second recital (held in January last year) on their show.

What is your greatest fear?
To lose the zeal and self belief that I need to mould my dreams into tangible and productive realities.

What trait do you most deplore in others?
Absence of a sense of purpose; a cause, for which one may live - I feel it breeds stagnating personalities and a cancer of apathy.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
An Aston Martin DB9... in my most humble dreams though!

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
The fact that I have no gap in my teeth; it would have been felonious and funk.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
The original (now mystified) nose of the Sphinx!

What do you owe your parents?
A comprehensive and fully developed Guy Mambo; the best I can be.

When did you last cry, and why?
Recently during Mass, the tune of a song rendered me emotive – it touched a soft spot.

To whom would you most likely say sorry and why?
My first girlfriend – in P2. We went on a date and I bought ice cream but jammed to share it... ha ha!

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The pen, which is the bridge between the mind and material reality.
Have you ever said “I love you” and not meant it?

I am a man and a poet, what do you think?
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
My parents, Kunta Kinte, Rem Koolhas, Peter Zumthor, Marcus Aurelius, Confucius, Gipir and Labong, Michael Jackson, Tupac Amaru, Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Pope John Paul I, Russell Peters, Kylie Minogue... and I should be seated next to Delilah (Samson’s ex).

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Felonious funk” and “this too, I take into the dark”.

What is the worst job you’ve ever done?
My attempted debut at unofficially being a member of the Namilyango College choir. It was a job badly done!

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I’m not your biggest fatalist, but I think if you edit the past you affect the now and the morrow. I wouldn’t change a thing; I am a product of grace, my fortunes and my mistakes.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
So far, the most solid thing I (with my buddies) have managed is the Lantern Meet of Poets, an entity that embodies our passion for writing. By the way, we are having our next recital on February 6, so don’t miss.

What’s your favourite poem and why?
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, because I feel I can relate to it. For all the times my choices, or decisions, or opinions, seemed odd in the eyes of society, it sort of holds your pinkie through such ordeals.
Let’s end with you telling us a ‘poetic’ joke!
Hardest thing you’ve asked so far! We poets are not the most comedian of kind.... poetry is only funny when put in context, so this too, I take into the dark.