Today, we have come not to be led by the poet-cantor. We have come on this sacred journey to internalize the power of his poetry, and that that is the challenge of history. It is said that death is a monument on the social landscape. Coupled with its willing partner, dates, we are not only reminded that life is transient but also, we have to live until it comes. Once, the ancient Ewe poet-cantor, Akpalu said that (and we put it in our own words) – do not worry if death comes when the seats are all taken for; he brings his own. The deepening aesthetic of death is a synonym to life, they are twins actually. This respect is what we pay to the master-poet, Kofi Awoonor, a year on after his unfortunate passing.
There are people that we will never meet in person. There are people that we become familiar with because of the traces of themselves that they leave behind on sheets of papers. One of those who fall in that category for many of us is Kofi Awoonor. Yet, when we discover them, they become part of self and we want to carry on what they left behind.
‘’When the final night falls on us
as it fell upon our parents,
we shall retire to our modest home
that we have done our duty
by our people;
we met the challenge of history
and we were not afraid’’
– Kofi Awoonor, To Feed Our People
In the end, the poet will not be eternal; his voice will be. Poets are natives of everywhere and nowhere. We claim their words because they speak to us. They seek to map us. It is here that we succumb to the enormity of this task – life. We prowl history to discover the other cousins and to see the poetic borders of our evolutionary being, social function and a construction of identity. It is this call that tolls and invites a breed, poets/writers.
1. Awoonor’s Gone – Afya Kiss-iwaa Ocran
2. Elegy For A Bard – Rasaq Malik
3. Nkem, My Own – Atta Atta Brown
4. Four Poems – Afam Akeh
5. Taboo – Mawuli Adzei
6. A Song For Nyidevu For Afetsi who survived – Kofi Anyidoho
With Aisha Nelson
Kwabena Agyare Yeboah
Weta, Volta Region
21st, September, 2014