Fred Kweku Forson -Ghana (Courtesy photo)
- What drew you to enter for the competition?
I knew nothing about haiku as a type of poetry until one day on Facebook I read that a Ghanaian, Kwaku Feni Adow had won a haiku contest. I became curious and began to search for the meaning of haiku and all that it entails. After reading a little about it online and a lot more of the haiku others have written especially from the Mamba, I knew I could also be a haiku poet.
The opportunity then presented itself when I read on Facebook of a call to submission of haiku to the 2017 edition of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation haiku contest. I didn’t waste time but began to pen some images/scenes and sounds down. I then submitted the first three haiku I ever tried my hands on and, hooray, it’s been shortlisted.
- Do you have a particular personal story with haikus?
I’ve been writing poems especially rhymes at my leisure times and whenever I wrote one, I would ask my younger brother to proofread for me. I really do worry him with that. He thinks I’m very good at the poems I write but frustrated since I’m not gaining anything from it. He feels I’m wasting that talent. Because of this, he would sometimes refuse to proofread my poems.
When I wrote the shortlisted haiku, I read it to him and asked him whether he finds any sense in it but he asked me to leave him alone and that he has better things to think about. I didn’t tell him I was submitting it for a contest though. So when he read of my haiku having been shortlisted in a contest, he came back from work that evening and reminded me of how he paid no attention to me when I asked him to ponder on the shortlisted haiku for me. We all laughed over it because he was so excited for my haiku having been shortlisted.
What do you feel towards the shortlist in general?
After going through the shortlist, I was wowed by the exhibition of great African talents in haiku. It feels so intriguing to read such images and sounds briefly penned down by fellow Africans who respectively see and hear far beyond those images and sounds.
What motivation do poets need to keep writing, in this ridiculously competitive world that vies for their attention?
I believe the greatest motivation of every poet is from within himself, the moment you begin to see and feel something within you, and you just can’t help it but to artistically express it in writing.
But one big external motivation of every poet, I believe, is knowing that his poems have a wider audience across the world and people actually find inspiration in his poems. Therefore, poets and their poems must be given the necessary exposure through competitions and features in journals like what Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation and the Africa Haiku Network have respectively started doing, etc.
- If your 2017 submission was food, what would it be?
“Apapransa” is a Ghanaian delicacy prepared with corn flour, and that is what my 2017 submission would have been. “Apapransa” is best enjoyed when it is made to be pregnant with chops of salted fish and any other fish deemed necessary and garnished with palm oil. The delicacy is not too appetizing or attractive at the mere sight of it but, the moment you begin to take bites of it and you gently continue to masticate it, you will definitely end up grabbing the chops of fish hidden in it. This immediately gives you a different and even more delicious taste.
When you first read my 2017 haiku submission at a glance, you may just be tempted to think of it as a mere construction of words in a sentence. Much meaning may not be seen it. But if you take your time and carefully read through it, you will end up getting the deeper messages and lessons embedded in it. Then, you will appreciate my haiku the more.
Let my haiku speak to your mind, soul, spirit and your life!
Fred Kweku Forson Ghana, is a formidable talent. We at Babishai, congratulate him again. The winners will be announced at the #Babishai2017 Poetry Festival dinner on Sunday 6 August at Humura Resort, Kitante Close. Cards are on sale at 40,000/- Call +256 703142867. The full festival programme is here.
The full winning haikus are here:
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