Sunday, August 05, 2007

the wake of change

The last time I blogged Sekou Sundiata had just died. Since then, another literary man - one of my Ghanaian predecessors - Kwesi Brew, has passed on. It's been a period full of mourning, wakes and wakefulness. In the Ga tradition we believe that when someone goes to the other side someone takes on their role in this world, so my thoughts have now turned to the replacements, the poets who will take on the roles, the public voids left by the departure of Sekou and Kwesi. Of course, the replacements will have to carry on being themselves, but better, more elevated selves so that some other emerging writers can become their lesser selves, and so the world adjusts. I will blog on that subject - the idea of who replaces Sekou and Kwesi - later, but for now I remain mindful that in the midst of chaos, there is always cause for celebration and how true that has turned out to be! One of my other poet idols, Charles Simic, has been made Poet Laureate of the United States and I'm ecstatic because he is truly a rare, unconventional and brilliant poet. His book A Wedding in Hell is one of my favourite poetry books along with a few Nerudas and Heaneys, Li Young Lee's The City in Which I Love You and Atukwei Okai's Oath of the Frontomfrom (of course I love all the writers I have edited for waterways and mouthmark but that's another story). Anyway, you can read a poem by Simic on the online version of the New Yorker...

While you're online reading, check out this lovely list of fifty new African writers to watch that I'm privileged to be on... and also go to the Writers Fund Amazon wish list and buy something for the project I'm running in Ghana. I've already got quite a bit lined up but not much in the way of these much-needed books for the Writers' Centre I'm helping set up at the Pan African Writers Association building in Accra. I'm heading out there soon to run some workshops and do some work on the ground so it would be great if a few books turned up while I was there.

Anyway, I'd better go and sleep, but I promise to be a better blogger this August!

what i'm reading/listening to

Internal Affairs by Pharoahe Monch

All I can say about Pharoahe is he's irreverent, but artistic as hell. His wordplay makes every swear word worth listening to, because each one has a purpose. Great sense of plot too; his storytelling skills would put many a short story writer to shame and, of course, he rhymes as though Queen's needs his end rhyme to build houses with and his internal rhyme to put fuel in their cars. The Mrs and I saw him live in London last month and his new album, Desire, sounded wonderful live. Probably worth checking out too...

A Heart So White by Javier Marias:

This book was recommended to me by a good friend, Hisham. It is heavy with detail in every scene, moments in which the author pauses to interrogate the world, but it all adds up to make a great story. I'm almost done now...

News Source: Guardian (for Simic announcemnt)