Matthew is a student of the University of Cape Coast pursuing a Degree program in Education. He is a good Christian and a member of the Gethsemane Methodist Church at Ntranoa. He enjoys creative writing, especially poems. He also enjoys music, movies (especially cartoon movies), chatting with friends, siteseeing, computer games, cracking jokes and offering assistance to others in need. He hopes to be an author or a journalist in the future.
Five Questions with Kwofie Matthew:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
I can't really remember exactly when I started writing poems. However, I remember I was writing short stories at primary school. I also remember that I wrote stories that were acted by the Ankwanda Church of Pentecost Sunday School, of which I was a member. I became fully conscious of my ability in poetry when I was at Senior Secondary School. That was around 1995 and I have been writing since then, though I have never really taken it very serious.
2. Who are your favorite poets? Which poets have most inspired and informed your work?
For my favorite poets, I think I will go for every poet whose poem I have read. Well, for those who have inspired and informed my work, I can name poets like John Wain, Kwesi Brew, Atukwei Okai, Ayi Kwei Armah, and William Shakespeare, among others.
3. Do you believe poetry can play a role in improving Ghanaian politics? If so, how do you hope for a poem such as "Crows" to change things?
Sure! I know it for a fact that poetry can play a very important role not only in improving Ghanaian politics but in reforming the Ghanaian society as a whole, and also in bringing people's attention to some very important roots and fibers of Ghanaian society which have been relegated to the background. That is a very adorable aspect of our culture and traditions.
"Crows" was written as an expression of the frustrations and disappointment the good and "ordinary" (as we are popularly called) people of Ghana have had to endure over the years at the hands of the very people (politicians) we trusted and vested our powers in. We did this with the good hopes of creating the environment and equal opportunities for achieving what we aspire and to live average lives as humans, in the least. "Crows" brings to the attention of the reader how these people (the politicians) have deviated from our (us, the so called "ordinary" people) plans over the years. It talks about how the politicians have continued to lord themselves over the people who vote them into power rather than serving them. It also talks of how we, the "ordinary," have contributed to this unholy attitude of our politicians, who now enjoy being served rather than serving the people. "Crows" brings us face-to-face with the continuous use of vain words by our politicians and the persistent failure to deliver on promises.
With these and many more lessons that "Crows" brings to the fore, it is hoped that it will be able to awaken the ordinary voter to hold politicians accountable for what they say on political platforms and to insist on the fulfillment of promises made to them by these politicians. It is also hoped that "Crows" will serve as a reminder to our "honorable" politician as to how far they have deviated from the rules of the game so as to retrace their footsteps to the ideals politics stand for.
4. Is there much poetry-related activity in the Cape Coast/Elmina area? If so, what? If not, what do you think is lacking most?
I am not aware of any poetry related activities in the Cape Coast/Elmina area for now. I will ask around for information as regards that though. What I know for a fact is that not many people enjoy poetry. However, I also know that with deliberate efforts and programs people can be made to enjoy the genre just as they enjoy other genres. I think such efforts and programs are what we are lacking.
5. At one point you were a member of a creative writers club in Komenda, Central Region. What was this experience like for you, and do you think it would be easy to replicate elsewhere?
Well, being an ordinary member of the club was very interesting and I enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed the submission of my articles together with that of other members to the editor for editing and approval, and the consequent display of the articles on the school's notice boards. I especially enjoyed the enthusiasm with which other students flooded the boards to read the articles. However, being the editor of the club was very challenging. Most of the time, I needed to stay awake throughout the night to get the articles edited as our membership strength kept increasing rapidly and more members started putting in articles. There were also many challenges in trying to reconcile individual norms and interests with that of the club and the school without offending the author. This always led me to do a lot of consultations with other executives and members and more importantly, the patron. Yes, I think what we did at Komenda can be replicated elsewhere though it might not be that easy. However, I believe hard work and determination can propel one to achieve any height and anything one desires.