PFOS WEEKLY INTERVIEW
An exclusive interview with Nana Arhin Tsiwah
Date: 27th August, 2016
Host: PFOS Zulfaw
Co-host: PFOS Tiyumba Salim
Production crew: PFOS Interviewers Unit
Venue: PFOS FAMILY(PFOS official WhatsApp platform)
(1). Tell us something brief about yourself.
— Nana Arhin Tsiwah is a regular Ghanaian village boy who is an undergraduate student of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
(2). Whats the meaning of your pen name and why that pen name?
— I used to have a pen name, The Village Thinker, but it has grown beyond me. It has gained a lot of still water for reflection and a refocus into the true origin of a regular Ghanaian child.
(3). Sir, what is poetry?
— Poetry is poetry; we cannot dilute its potencies. It is what defines a man, his soul, spirit and spermatozoa or metra. As an African, poetry is culture— a subsidiary of a refined witty Proverbial African intellectualism.
(4). Who is a poet…?
— A poet is sperm made from clay and adorned with spiritual givings. He is a misfit; an obstinate reading society and rewriting society in a constrictive way. The African poet, however, is the seed of a complex weaver and master, Kweku Ananse— just like the African storyteller.
(5). Is there something called poetic language? How does one get It?
— Poetic language is poetic language. It’s the the poet’s language. Unlike prose/drama which is a sprout of enroads, poetic language comes with the poet’s pizzazz to weave words in a manner that represents a part of his internal creative juices.
(5) What are the good ingredients of a poem? How will “one” get them?
— For me, as a rebellious poet, every poem is as good as its creator; as beautiful as the soul that forged it. There is however, a true poem, which has its own smell, taste and feel— and perhaps it’s spirituality. Getting these ingredients has no one particular way. It is dependent on the poet and his own solitary or spiritual makeup.
(6)How do you begin a poem?
— Beginning a poem could be as haunting as anything there is to seeing a person’s living mother dead in a dream— it could be likened to a nightmare, sometimes. But for truth, writing a poem comes to me as a divine gift— in the form of whispers and inner- songs from the people, the ancestors/ancestresses, to whom poetry (awensem) an aspect of culture belongs to. I am but a mere elementary clairvoyant for it’s manifestation.
(7) Which poetry devices do you use often and why?
— Metaphors, Imagery, Personifications and Smiles do well occur in most works after I have realised what have been given to me through ancestral divinities. They are to me the basic and more easily communing with.
(8). Spoken Words, is It poetry? Why?
— Well, this is one question that has risen the curtains of controversies in recent years. Spoken word is spoken word as poetry as poetry but the former is still and would still be a rib of the latter. Poetry is an encompassing mother that births every ingredient of spoken word. It is like being able to attribute a chromosomal relationship between a stubborn child and it parents. No matter how damning the said child is perceived by society and it’s fraternity, there is no way we can deny the fact that such child is an offspring generated by the parents— the same can be said of spoken word and poetry. Spoken word is an obstinate child of Poetry.
(9). Have you ever won any award? Tell us more.
— Awards haven’t been the parameter for which has led to the constant bleeding of myself on mechanical sheets and electronic pages. However, to be certified with a Specialist Diploma in Poetry by School of Poetry-World Union of Poets, Italy, is inspiring enough and especially when the honour is done by not just anybody but Silvano Bortolazzi, Knight of Merit of the Italian Republic for Poetry. That is like receiving a soothing pat from the firmament to do more for society and humanity. And then 1st Prize for World Union of Poets-Poetry Prize for Africa… etcetera. But principally, these are the major and important ones.
(10). Do you have a favourite poet? Why is he your favourite poet?
— I don’t have a favourite poet but favourite poets. Names like, Kofi Awoonor, Chris Okigbo, Chinua Achebe, Kwesi Brew, Kwadwo Opoku Agyemang and other true African poets like David Diop would forever remain highly prized palm wine to me. They make you believe in the African dream. These poets make you to accept one’s self and accept his melanin of being African. That is for the older generation.
However, Fiifi Abaidoo, Ehi’zogie, Kwabena Agyare, Amofowa Sefa Cecilia, Agyie-Baah, Kojo Poet, Sarpong Kumankoma, Kofi Acquah, Nanabayin, Ayoola Goodness, Alhassan Rabiu, Aremu Adams, Akosua Vibrant, Nene Tetteh Adusu, Abeiku O’, Asamoah Yeboah et al are minds that are intriguingly exceptional in our present times.
(11). What gives you the zeal to write poems as a poet?
— The true African poet as I know, is a medium of ancestral givings and insightfulness of his being African. Africa is simply the fortification hub, Africanness.
(12) Aside poetry, do you write other genres- Drama or Prose?
— In the nearest future, I think would love to be married to Political/Historical Fiction and probably try writing Non-fiction if its balm works the heals with me. But for now, it’s poetry and random essays.
(13). Have you benefited monetarily from poetry? If yes, how?
— Money is money. It would always be a capable force to reckon with. Poetry is poetry. In the first chapter of Mfantse Creation Story, Oyankopon (god) was a Poet first before creating elements that money came out from. Every poet that can make money from his works should but money isn’t everything. I haven’t made enough from it, it can’t even buy a cup of gari….softly laughs… But I know that writing pays in some other important respect other than solely being monetarily.
(14). Have you ever experienced any drumbeat of criticisms? If yes, what was your reaction…?
— Except for a few typos, maybe in the nearest future. But I believe personally that criticism is the herbalist of writing in general.
(15). What are your exciting moments as a poet?
— When the poet in me is able to reincarnate himself after a poetic ejaculation.
(16). When did you nurse the ambition of becoming a poet?
— It never occurred to me that I would be a poet. I didn’t know anything about that particular genre, as it stands today in it English writing, until I was done with high school. But as I have always said, growing up from a small farming village, I knew very well with my conscience that I was a beautiful liar. I had good listening small ears like that of a squirrel, so I easily bend the tongue to create lies out of stories as my own stories but they ended in precision and time-spot like poetry. I could, however, be said to be a poet through my association with works of other poets.
(17). You man a group- The Village Thinkers, what have been your achievements and challenges.
— Well…. The Village Thinkers is still under the tutelage of the ancestorship. Their wisdom would tell with time when the leaf of the Oak should fall beneath it’s buttress roots.
(18) What should be the life of a poet?
— The life of a poet shouldn’t be addiction to fantasies. It should be the life of an everyday normal person. Except that the poet should be a keen observer and a mirror upon which the million realities and reasons of humanity could be measured.
(19). What pieces of advice do you have, for Poets From Our Savannah “PFOS FAMILY” (Group of poets that nominated you to be interviewed)
— Just be You. Be who you want to be remembered for in the years to come when the frailty of human memories set in upon a person’s life. Grow yourself into that home that even being in exile draws your attention to.
(20). Sire, your last words for poets looking up to you from our platform.
— I always say, I don’t expect anyone to look up to me. I expect people to look into themselves, search through the webbed cubicles of internal solitude and find that unique person; that writer, that poet, that artist, that storyteller who can confidently say, this is my root— this is the village I have rise from and it’s that village’s untold stories I write to the world.
Zakaria Gbepo Ibrahim
(Head of the interviewers’ Unit)
Fuseini Dipantiche Mohammed Naporoo Kamaldeen Shitobu