Sunmi Famule


Contributor interview

UNL: Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you first start writing? Why and how is writing important to you?

SF: I wrote my first “real” poem in my sixth grade English class. We were told to write a poem about our rooms and I made mine metaphorical and titled it “My Room is a Jungle.” My teacher disliked it because it did not follow her prescribed guidelines. This served as a catalyst for my career as a poet because I wanted to write without the restraint of rules and guidelines. Writing is very important for me because it allows me to express –and flesh out- a thought that would have otherwise gone unspoken. As a person who often finds it difficult to communicate my thoughts and ideas in speech, writing has given me the means of doing so.

UNL: Would you mind sharing how the poems you wrote came into being? What was your process like for creating them? How do you determine what is important to write about?

SF: For the poem "Cold" I had an idea to write about the nurturing of a person’s personality and drew inspiration from individuals that I felt matched the role of being molded into something/someone. This served as the building blocks of the poem. The other two poems were triggered by events I had witnessed. When I feel like it leaves an impression on me I want to create something out of that impression so that what I felt lasts.

UNL: Do you have a favorite place to write?

SF: I don’t have one. My writing is usually sporadic and triggered. So when I do feel that urge to write wherever I am I usually take notes.

UNL: How has the Northland area affected how you write or what you write about?

SF: As a person originally from Nigeria, things and people are very different from what I know and what I am use to. So the people of the Northland often serve as a muse for my writing. Of late, a lot of the poems I have written were inspired by the people in the Northland because they are so unique and unlike the people I knew in Nigeria.

UNL: We heard you’re graduating soon—first off, congratulations! What will your next step be? How does poetry or just simply any form of writing factor into these next steps?

SF: I will be attending UW-Madison and majoring in Political Science and Journalism. I love writing in general, but I want to do something impactful. It has always been a dream of mine to work in the journalism and political field. I do, however, plan on writing more poetry books in the future.

UNL: Would you mind sharing what you’re currently reading?

SF: I am currently reading This is How We Find Each Other by Fortesa Latifi. It is truly wonderful and is a different type of writing than I am used to.

UNL: Do you have any reading recommendations or advice for aspiring Northland student writers?

SF: Read every type of poetry you come across. You may not like it but it can help build your style as a poet and expose you to other people's writings.

UNL: Where can we go to read more of your work? Anything else you’d like to share with us?

SF: I recently published a poetry book titled BECOMING. You can find it on Barnes and Nobles and Amazon.



 Sunmi Famule's first poem was about mustard and it's magical wonders. Since then she has moved onto writing about thought-provoking subjects like creating and accepting one's identity, race relations, religion, and ketchup. Sunmi recently published BECOMING, a book of poetry dealing with the acceptance or denunciation of one’s identity. Sunmi plans on pursuing journalism and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in fall 2017.