Leonard Opoku Agyemang is currently serving as a National Service Person with the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. He holds a B.A degree (with a major in English and a minor in History) from the University of Ghana. Leonard had his secondary education at Anglican Secondary School, Kumasi. He comes from the Lake Bosomtwe area in Ashanti region, Ghana.
As an omnivorous reader, Leonard never spares any readable material he gets. He especially enjoys reading classical mythologies, slave narratives and poetry on the 'black experience'. Commenting on his objective for writing poetry, Leonard noted that: Milton writes "to soar above the Aonian mount" but he, as a young poet writes "to paint human wickedness; to bring hope to the desparate; to fight against injustices..."
Five Quesions with Leonard Opoku Agyemang:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
For three years.
2. Who are your favorite poets? Which poets have most inspired and informed your work?
My favorites include Kwesi Brew, Kofi Awoonor, Oswald Mtshali, Wole Soyinka as well as Keats, Marvell, Pope, Frost, Milton. The most influential of them are Mtshali, Brew and to some extent Soyinka and the romantic poets, Keats and Wordsworth.
3. What is your opinion of the state of African poetry today?
African poetry today is characteristically concerned with operating within the prescribed tenets of Western poetry. As a result, African poets are not able to exercise in fullest, their imaginative power, especially in painting the 'African experience'. This development has therefore created a gulf between the poets and the African audience.
4.What do you think needs to be done to promote and strengthen African poetry?
The poets should explore issues of urgent concern to the continent so as to sustain the interest of the African audience in their creative enterprise. Similarly, Poetry Societies should be established in basic and second cycle schools. This will help inculcate the importance of poetry in young intellectuals. Today, young men and women across Africa see poetry as subordinated to Science and Business studies.
5.What do you think is the role of poetry in modern Ghanaian politics?
Poetry can be used as a communicative tool to sensitize both the educated elite and the general public on issues affecting National life. In doing this, poetry can unite the governing and the governed for a paradise future.