Laila Sholtz-Ames was born in Dallas, Texas, but later, when she was adopted at five weeks, moved to Maine . She has an older brother, in the Foreign Service, and an older sister. She currently is a student at the University of Maine, studying journalism and in her spare time enjoys playing rugby, cooking, spending time with friends and her ten cats, writing, reading, and just being outdoors. Sholtz-Ames has been writing poetry for over a decade and in 2005 published her first book "And So We Remember," a compilation of poems about September 11th, 2001.
Five Questions with Laila Sholtz-Ames:
1. Who are your favorite poets? Which poets have most inspired you?
I really love British poetry. My favorite poets are probably Wallace Stevens, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, and Anne Bradstreet. I enjoy reading poems that really make me think, that make me have to read and reread the piece of work over again.
2. What do you hope to accomplish with your poetry?
I want people to understand that poetry can tell a story just as much as a novel or a short story. I want my poems to evoke some type of emotion from people (happy or sad).
3. What has sparked your interest in writing about Ghana?
I went to Africa in March and I was very much inspired by the people and culture there. Also, I have a friend from Ghana and I am very much interested by his lifestyle.
4. What do you think can be done to better promote African literature in the United States?
That's a good question. I think if people could realize that African literature has a lot of elements that people even in the US can relate too, people would read it more. Perhaps just getting the word out, having poetry and literature readings from great African authors would spark more curiousity in people.
5. Your poem seems to paint an image of Ghana as a place of warmth and inclusiveness. How does this compare with your image of the United States?
Despite alot of what has gone on in the US the past few decades, I still have a positive image of the US. I think that we, as a country, want to succeed. We are very driven and feel that we must do what's right (even if it is not always the correct thing to do). I think that we often have to look to find it, but the United States still has a lot of culture whether it be from the Franco-Americans, the Native American tribes, or African-Americans and I very much value that.