He danced there like an overturned centipede.

Ben Okri

Ben Okri

Profession: Poet
Nationality: Nigerian

Some suggestions for you :

I was going to be a scientist.

I know that human beings are capable of anything.

The worst time was 1983. Love and life and everything went wrong. I reached absolute rock bottom. I saw the Minotaur at the bottom of the abyss. I learnt of the harshness of the world and its impartiality to human failure.

We have not yet arrived, but every point at which we stop requires a re-definition of our destination.

Don't neglect the gold in your own back yard.

The poem is never complete in the mind. It emerges, and then it's like an act of unveiling. The unveiling is the longest and most difficult part of it.

You cannot come to a Nigerian restaurant without having pepper soup.

Don't fear. You will always have something to struggle for, even if it is beauty or joy.

I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.

We are victims of censorship within when we do not let ourselves think the thoughts which our flesh recoils from, or let conscience speak that which the heart feels to be unacceptable, or when we give ourselves excellent reasons for not participating in this grand drama of our interconnected lives.

What if by sheer repetition we become the person we most often pretend to be? Does that mean there is no authentic self? Are we made of habits, compressed by time, like layered rocks?

'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' had a formative effect on me. I think it's one of those works that if you encounter it very early you're doubly enchanted by the beauty of the language and the strangeness of the vision. It stays with you.

I went to London because, for me, it was the home of literature. I went there because of Dickens and Shakespeare.

The dead shook off their rust of living and seized up steel. Their lips quivered with the defiance of innocents, with manipulations of politicians and their interchangeable dreams, and with the insanity of thugs who don't even know for which parties they commit their atrocities.