Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Kojo Appiah’



They would sit across the road and laugh heartily at my screams. They called me The Announcer. That  pitch darkness that formed between the end of the road and the house in which my mother waited for me was indeed a stage. I would stand there and scream my lungs out as if I was the only one who existed on earth.  I do not remember what I said but what I remember is that I was intrigued by the echo.  Paying close attention, I discovered that that voice was almost mine. Somehow, I came to believe that somebody, maybe in the skies recorded me and played it back instantly. I would later spend time to think about whom that might be. I was eight or nine years.

That happened when my two friends, Dwomoh and Kwadwo were not around. To put it correctly, they were my partners in crime. We roamed the whole Asante Mampong Township. We were The Three Musketeers. We sometimes fell into trouble. And we did, it was time for me to think of how we would escape. We called it plan. The truth was, that was our code name for lies. We were successful few of the times. Failure meant a period of wailing for us. The one I clearly remember is when we went to steal mangoes from Teacher Effah’s house. I had laid down that plan with assigned roles. It worked until the time someone blew our cover. Kwadwo was not with us that day. Then we had to run away. Dwomoh and I made it safely home. The others did not make it. Minutes after I arrived home, a group of people brought the others. Dwomoh’s mother pleaded for us and so they left. But there was one more thing. We received the best beatings of our lives. Our skins looked like those of  zebras after that episode.

I was ten and I was enjoying my role as the master planner. My role had extended to other circles of friends. My older cousin, Miriam even allowed me to come up with plots for what we called play (our term for drama). Gradually, I spent more time developing such plots and I found it more fulfilling.

Reading from The Mirror one fine Saturday afternoon, I stumbled on the winners of Burt Award For African Literature.  I felt I could be a writer upon seeing that. Such was the ego that set me on this journey. That was 2003 and I was elven. So I began to write . . .

 I would make sketches of concepts on papers that I kept. Many of them turned out to be an attempt at fiction writing. On a few occasions, I collected sketches from friends and I made poetry out of them. Of course, I should say that it was a pleasure doing that for Matilda, a girl I had a crush on from primary school to secondary school (She’s engaged now . . .smh). Unfortunately, I could not complete my novel titled The Hill because it was stolen in boarding school. I began writing poetry after that. I was able to create  thoughts in a concise genre and still  kept the dramatic techniques. Above all, I was able to keep my works.

Fast forward to 2009.

I felt the world owed me a favour. I wanted to write a book. When I found an online publishing house which was willing to accept my manuscript, I thought wow. But I was wrong. The world went damn silent on …Songs Of My Heart. It awesomely failed and I was completely dejected.

...Songs Of My Heart

…Songs Of My Heart

I would stop writing for the next two years.

Somewhere in 2012, I had a Facebook message from Daniel Kojo Appiah. Apparently, he had gone through my old notes on Facebook and he thought I could be a good writer. I would spend the next few months under the mentorship of Adjei-Agyei Baah, a man I had encountered before in The Mirror years earlier. I was so moved by his piece that I wanted to write under the name Kwabena Adjare-Agyare.

4th, February, 2014. Shalom Hostel. Room P 50. Ayeduase- KNUST.

Sometimes, I feel my heart will stop working. I sometimes I feel my weary legs will give up carrying my huge upper frame. But before my trembling fear steps out of that silent prayer, I would want to feel this moment. On this day, my twenty second birthday, I want to renew the vow I made a decade ago to writing. ‘’Till death do us part’’, I say.

It does not matter I if I get stuck here or not. I have dared to be opinionated even under personal discomfort. I have lived, owning perspectives. One day, I will die with nothing left on me. That will be my worth. Until that day, man will   soldier on.  



So  this list is the first part of  a project that I have been involved in for the past year or so. I  sought to interrogate the future of Ghanaian poetry. In many ways, my interest has been on new voices like myself. I have  been blown away by some, totally humbled and some have made question myself as an artist. So in this list, I assume I am just an observer who is loud-mouthed.  I deprive myself of any entitlement to artistry in this context so as to be fair and not be clouded by my prejudices. Here we go in no particular order:

1. William Saint George ( Jesse Jojo Johnson) : There are a few  poet-species left on earth who are devotees of verse. William’s  attention to detail of the verse is something that has held me spellbound for months. It’s clear that the Victorian poets did not die and if they did, they left a lasting impression on a boy in Ghana who based his arts in their artistry and has honed a voice that is increasingly becoming his. In my view, William is Ghana’s most valuable literary currency of the younger generation. I copied this from his blog :

I Walked One Morning On A Street

ImageI walked one morning, on a street,
one early, golden morning,
the only crowds were silent trees
and all their leaves were falling,
I took my time to scan the view,
and drink the living air,
to spy the alternating hues
of nature’s pompous fare.
I listened to the sighing wind
and followed all her notes,
while whistling along her flute
a duet learned by rote
I crossed a little wooden bridge
that spanned a giggling brook
and as I stood atop its back
three laden branches shook
I looked up through the dangling boughs;
I swore t’was someone there,
when something sweet disturbed my ear,
a bird song in the air.
Oh heaven, how have I been blessed!
I thought a bit aloud,
a songbird in a yellow coat
hid in the leafy shroud
Oh come down bird, oh come down bird,
I called to it at last,
come let us sing a little song
I wrote a season past!
The bird, with nonchalance, sang on
ignoring all my pleas
the leaves, consenting, stood in place
and hid the bird from me
So mad at being thus ignored
I found a little rock,
and threw my missile at the bird
to leave it quite in shock.
At last, it heard, and so came down
and calmly said to me,
dear one who cannot sing or fly,
I pray now, leave me be!
And quickly as it came, it went
and hid itself again,
and undisturbed at once resumed
its innocent refrain
What did I do then, you must ask,
with pride of self undone,
I took my paper and my pen,
and this same poem begun.
 My only criticism of William will be his reach of potential readership despite his potential.
2. Daniel Kojo Appiah :  As the winner of the maiden Ghana Poetry Prize, my faint words will be an attempt at fatal injury.  Over these few months, I have him seen on a quest that defines him in short poetry and spontaneous inspiration. Seemingly, he questions the  status quo in many of  his poems. His inclination is a continuation of the humanistic approach in poetry. Even in his vagueness, he constructs reality with tact.

Staring at a Blue Wall

I sit on a chair
with wheels beneath.
Frozen I am in wonderous stare

I sit and stare
and can’t believe
Sorcery that mimics a fairy tale sky.

I sit unstirred,
this sky be strange;
clouds varied with symbols here

I sit and stare
I’m quite bereaved
This death has come, for now I see.

A death discussed
By computing knights.
This death I face this very time.

I asked it this,
and fearfully this:
“You, what kind of death are you?”

It never blinked,
closed its eyes, and said:
“You’ve only heard of who I am.”

I asked again,
it answered back:
“I am that blue screen of death.”

As part of my research for this piece, I Google-d his name. Apart from the announcement of the prize, he is virtually invisible on Google. That I think is an indictment on  such a fine talent.

3.  Amma Konadu :   I stumbled on her poetry a few months ago. I had this exciting feeling about hers.  She has a prose-like voice in poetry that engages in unique strength.


This Season

Seeing the half-naked
Down the street
To the kiosk
 In that corner
To buy try-your-luck
With their faces
White from
Their morning baths
Is what this season is about
Catching the boys
Toss knock-outs
Under Grandpa’s
Old rickety car
At dusk
With their mismatched
Slippers and
Oversized shirts balled up in the back
While they run for cover
Not knowing
Grandpa has seen them all
Is what this season is about
Turning on the TV
And hearing
A local choir
Sing Hallelujah Chorus
In discord
Dressed in old robes
Yet smiling through
Their almost
Sorry performance
And so you care not
That they
Sing it wrong
Because their aged faces
Are so jolly
Is what this season is about
The ringing out
Of Afehyia Pa
And the cheerful
We hear all around us
Though the year
Had not been
One long sweet dream
Is what this season is about
So it is when we march up to
Where one road ends
And another
Unknown path
That we,
As one people
Stand and wait
Eager for the new
Saying in our hearts
May it be good
It is what this season’s about
4.  Fiifi Abaidoo: Here is somebody I connect with on a personal basis. I see in his voice a discovery (or rediscovery) of African poetry. He adorns himself in rich metaphor and diction which paints quite beautifully. He is one who reminds me of the early anthologies of African poetry I read.

I Speak To A Land

I summon all…

Come and listen to your message.
I am only a messenger from faraway…

Your land is cursed.
Fire consumes water!

You land is cursed.
The antelope hunts the hunter!

The leper does not shake hands with death
and goes a healed man…

People of Dakokrom,
bitter saliva scrapes
your king’s tongue, his belly is full with frogs from
Kyekyeku river, and his intestines are as stiff as a wawa tree
and heavy like Nkwatanan rocks.
He shall die and rot on his throne
to appease the gods your forefathers; he sold them to foreigners!

People of Dakokrom,
the priest of Mbem shrine committed incest
with his first child. He heeded to the call of her fleshy breasts,
and tore her beads at Sun-sleep.
He planted an abominable seed in her innocent land.
He gave her a potion to drink: a potion to wash away the forming fruit
of his labor. She died in three days amid the silent cries of the night.
He sowed her remains in the fertile soils of the land
and harvested a curse upon the land:

Your dying sons and daughters, livestock and crops…

People of Dakokrom,
I shall go to the river of ancestral spirits
to fetch the antidote for your cursed land

Let’s meet here in four market days…

             I pray you enjoy reading them as I do. I will continue building my list in the coming weeks. God bless you and I hope to see you again. 🙂