Oh when the “golden enchanter” and poet leaves what becomes of words and poetry itself? The news of his death has broken me because I have been influenced by his writings. His poems, often difficult, but powerful and mysteriously moving, are predominantly rituals of lament over the “senseless cathedral of doom” which educated Africans have allowed to usurp the shrines of their ancestral gods. As an African, who appreciates African proverbs and proverbs in general, I see the same in Awoonor. His poem, “My Uncle the Diviner-Chieftain,” highlights a Ghanaian proverb that says, “No one prophecies on an empty belly.”
Oh Awoonor, a fine poet and proud African, may your soul rest in perfect peace.
I knew Kofi Awoonor! I knew him because all poets know each other. I knew him because the spirits of all poets are fellow citizens of one country. His works have stayed with me ever since I first read his acclaimed ‘The Cathedral’. Today, he’s gone, shot by cruel terrorists who ambushed the mall he had walked into in Kenya. Our country has lost a citizen.
Kofi Awoonor has been a mentor. I don’t say this because he is dead; I say it because like me, he was Ghanaian, Ewe and a poet. And like me, he had a story to tell, which he spent his life telling. I listened to him. Nothing can so immediately take away this sorrow I feel.
I reviewed ‘The Cathedral’ and ‘
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