Ghanaian Poetry's Influences

Over at One Ghana, One Voice we recently completed our series of memorial poems for Kofi Awoonor (which we organized following Awoonor's shocking death as part of the Westgate Mall shooting in Nairobi. Awoonor's death, and the tribute that followed, delayed another project we had been about to launch: "Ghanaian Poetry's Influences".

Over my years running OGOV I've received many questions about Ghanaian poetry: who's writing it, what they're writing, what shapes/influences their work, etc. Most of these questions seem hopelessly unanswerable to me - the explosion of writing, publishing and interest in Ghanaian poetry has made it a world too large and diffuse to be pinned down with clean, simple answers. Still, I realised, I did have some hard stats that could help with one of those questions.

For the past seven years, I've been asking Ghanaian poets whose writing I've published on OGOV the same question: Which poets have most influenced and informed your work? In total I've asked this question to 93 writers, the vast majority of them Ghanaian (some are international writers, writing on Ghana - such as myself). I decided I would take a stab at tracking Ghanaian poetic influences by tallying up the answers our various poets had given to that question. The results were fascinating to me, and I decided to share them over a series of posts, published throughout the month of November. They have all now been posted, and you can find the results here:

Which continent's artists most influence Ghanaian poetry?

Which country's artists most influence Ghanaian poetry?

Who influences Ghanaian poets more, men or women? By how much?

What types of artists are influencing Ghanaian poetry?

Which female artist most influences Ghanaian poetry?

Which artist from Ghana most influences Ghanaian poetry?

Which artist from Africa (non-Ghanaian) most influences Ghanaian poetry?

Which artist from Europe most influences Ghanaian poetry?

Which artist from the Americas most influences Ghanaian poetry?

Which artist, generally, most influences Ghanaian poetry?

Take a guess on each question, then click the link. Some of the answers may surprise you!

Anyone feel like doing something like this for Canada? I'd be curious to see the answers for that, and to contribute a vote or two.

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