#Spotlight Exclusive Interview with Spoken Word Poet Olivia Onuk

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* Tell me about Olivia Onuk

I am Olivia Onuk. She is I. I am her, lol. I’m a student trying to get through my first degree and perhaps pursue a law career. I’ve always had dreams of becoming a divorce attorney so I’m really centered on sociology of the family and family social sciences and the like.

Anyway, I’m not particularly exciting. I eat, sleep, breathe and when the spirit moves, I write.


* What is Spoken word poetry to you?

It is different. Contrary to popular belief, I do not think of myself as a spoken word poet, I do not consider it my forte. I am very into written work; I’m into shorter pieces with concrete metaphors. BUT, to answer your question, spoken word poetry is something I envy. It is something I wish I had endless delight in. It is something I love to listen to and I admire those who have the natural gifting for it. It’s a very delicate and exciting craft.


* How did you fall in love with it? Inspirations? Etc.

I actually do not know when exactly it was that I began leaning towards it. When I was younger, I would spend hours rewriting my storybooks and changing the endings of the ones I didn’t like. I enjoyed creating.

I moved to Canada for high school and it was challenging. Really. I didn’t know who to talk to or how to explain what I was feeling so I would just write it down. I look at my earlier pieces and, they’re real, deep but humorous to me now. My word choice and sentence structure, poor! I still think that was where it began to feel real to me.

I definitely gained a lot of inspiration from “peers” that were into poetry, most of them better and more into it than I was. I read a lot, I watched a lot of spoken word videos and I devoted a lot of time to it. It became an overly important part of my being; that’s when I knew I was in love.

* Talk about a couple of your favorite previous projects. *Insert links to videos if any*

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not really a spoken word artist. I don’t like videos and I struggle with lengthy pieces so I don’t have a lot of video projects.

My first video project was titled ‘To The Man’ and I really, really attempted to encourage the males in my generation. That was the idea anyway.


My second and only other personal piece is titled ‘My Mother spoke to me’ and it stemmed from one sentence that my mother, well, spoke to me. It made me recall all the strengthening pep talks I had taken for granted and I really just wanted to gift her something from within me.


I was also opportuned to do an introductory short piece for the talented, Yung Jeff and ha! My rise to fame.


I’ve been working on a book for what feels like forever now. I have not been able to move forward with it. That is my biggest project and it is draining me, filling me up and stressing me out because Iw really want for it to be fully reflective of who I am as a poet.


* Your most recent spoken word ” My Mother spoke to me” is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever heard! What’s the story behind this astonishing piece? add a line from the piece*

Really, this poem seemed to just flow. I didn’t struggle with it at all and it was so because, I was writing for and about my best friend. I said everything I needed her to know. The inspiration for the entire piece was really nestled in the last line, “My mother spoke to me the most beautiful, damaging words tainted with a truth I’d spent all my waking moments running from. She said, “be kind to yourself, my love” and I realized all I had done wrong.”

* Do you perform at shows? If so tell me about previous shows and any upcoming ones you’ll be performing at.

I do perform but not often. I live in Winnipeg so I find that they aren’t a lot of opportunities for spoken word. There are a few shows organized by universities for international students and I’m always open to performing but they are very low-scale. I performed at Le Rouge last year, 2013 and it was bliss. There aren’t any events on my calendar yet but hopefully!


* Are you writing any more impressive spoken word? If so please do give us a little insight on them.

I’m actually working on a piece with my mother that touches on females in relationships – the problems they encounter, managing their emotions and understanding their self-worth. I’m working on talking about love in depth. I dilly-dally around the theme a lot but I’ve never really sat down to tackle it to my heart’s content. It’s a summer goal. I’m working on another piece with Yung Jeff and I’m excited for that. My plans are so lush and never-ending, I can only hope they all come to fruition.

* To wrap this up, tell me one of your favorite quotes and why it is.

 “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.”

My all-time favorite author/poet is Charles Bukowski. He was raw, honest and a drunk! So, it only makes sense that one of my favorite quotes would be from him and it is so difficult to pick one but for now, that would have to be it. It resonates with me because death is such a vast issue for me, I am intrigued by it and this very kindly sums up how I feel about it.

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Instagram: oliviaonuk

Twitter: @OliviaTwist_

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