Friday, August 23, 2013

254. A Review Interview of 'A Heart's Quest by Elikplim Akorli'

This interview is meant to replace the usual review I do for books I have read. There are several reasons for this but the chief one is that I failed to make notes when I read. This will not be a routine.

How do you introduce yourself to people, especially the literary side of you?
Hmmm, basically I'm simple and down to earth. With literary side of me, I would say I was not trained to write. Writing came to me when nothing else would. I found writing young. It wasn't my first love though; sketching was though I have not developed it as much as I would have loved to. When I write, I write to set myself free irrespective of whatever someone may think or feel. That was the way writing started for me. The more I wrote and experienced life, the more I discovered there were other things to talk about apart from using writing as a personal tool. I write articles and essays sometimes apart from poetry which I consider my usual domain. I have tried short stories but not yet completed any.

Can you tell us the full meaning of your name?
My name “Elikplim” means”God is with me”.  “Akorli” is my grandfathers given to the fourth male in the family line. In Japanese, “Kami Sama”

Your first degree is in African Studies, how would you say this has influence your writing?
Yes in a way. Everything else that I have experienced has influenced my writing because it would serve as a reservoir of knowledge to call upon anytime the need arises. African Studies was my major but I read Classics and Philosophy and History too. Classics and Philosophy has been a great influence, the two command great passion if one understands the perspective which aids and guides them. African Studies made me embrace myself as an African and would remain African no matter what. It granted me acceptance of who I really am as a person and that means a lot to me.

Your first book, which was launched just some weeks ago, was titled A Heart’s Quest. What’s the importance of this title and how does it reflect in the content? How did you settle on the title?
A Heart’s Quest, is a beautiful piece of book I would say. If one has the opportunity of reading all the poems in the book, it would be of easy realization that the style employed in the writing is very unusual ,but I believe it allows one to delve into possibilities. The poems in the book are experiences of thought and spirit and a result serves as a challenge to the youth of Ghana and the world at large. Africa is my first concern though. I believe if the youth reconsider thoughts and possibilities of potential hidden in us, we would initiate a movement that would inspire the great awakening of Africa as continent to contribute her quota on the world stage and serve as an inspiration for perspective for the planetary home. In this regard, the poems in the book are ideas, hopes of the ideal that things can be better than they are now for we have the potential, so therefore a heart on a quest. In my own knowing, the heart is stronger than the mind, since it aids and guides its use. The first impulse of the body is initiated by the heart.

Reading your poems, I saw you focused more on love – sexual, filial and friendly. Why this major theme?
Man is a sexual being and I believe we express that sexuality variedly. Meanwhile, sexuality is a thing we are only opening up to. It needs to be discussed and processed, possibly guided. But that in itself is subjective. Depending on a person’s experience and understanding of it, one acts accordingly. The limit and freedom of humanity is an expression of a sex. Creativity like a pool if experienced, one would qualify its expression as that of sexuality. Like the experience of orgasm, one’s mind is flooded when in a creative mood. I think that is sacred or saintly if compared to the wholesome experience of love; a thing to behold.

What exactly will you say you were carrying across in your anthology? In addition to the love, there were several threads, even within a poem. Sometimes a poem will take off and branch into several directions. Were these intentional?
Well, I would call that the psychology that holds the poems and that should be best left to the readers of the poems. An attempt to disclose that wouldn’t serve right on a platter of discovery such as poetry. There were instances I referred to the Ghanaian experience and the condition that constructs it in some poems, that too is a thread/theme. Whether these were intentional, I would say yes, for without intent, nothing can be done.

There was a lot of conversation and repetition of words and a lot of laughter (hahahaha) in the piece, is there anything precisely you were trying to achieve with this?
Hahahaa as laughter is the expression of sarcasm/humour in some of the poems. One needs laughter in order to carry some messages across. It sets apart everything else so one would take a repetitive look at the piece again.

There were Japanese translations of some of your poems. How wide has your anthology been received?
I believe as a people, we must explore and not set boundaries. The attempt of the Japanese translation is to plainly declare my love for Japan, the culture and the people. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity of meeting some very beautiful Japanese, Maki Kawamoto, Tayuta Masa and Hirono Uta. Apart from experiencing Japan in literature and movies, these individuals gave me a better eye into Japan as a country. It is of my believe that Japan would embrace this book considering the dare and versatility with which Japanese express their ideas and open up more to doing business with Africa as a continent and in the process contribute positively all things being equal.

How difficult was it to get the work published?
Hahahahaaaa. It was such a deal to publish this work. There were people I encountered who openly opposed the ideas in the book and some others accepted it and supported beyond measure. There were some who got negative for the sake of being negative only. That is how blunt people can be, but it does not matter to me. I self published this work because I believe this needs to be shared in order to inspire and give perspective. Possibilities are endless if only we decide to support each other by being more profound in the mind. The frontiers must be pushed and this is my attempt at contributing to that push. 

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