Abdul-Fatawu Yahaya, well known as The LyvingStone was born April 11, 1987 in Tamale. He is known for his leading role (Deputy General) with Ghana Poetry International and their new poetic book, “Musings Daily Poetry”, which just came out in Ghana the year 2007.
Abdul-Fatawu moved to the United States of America at the age of 16, where he joined his Father, Dr. Professor Moses Yahaya II, a Professor of Jounalism and Mass Communication, and is currently doing an undergraduate Degree at Montreat University in Pre-professional Biology, History, World Views and Philosophy, with a special emphasis in International Health and Medicine. He plans to attend Harvard University School of Public Health after his undergraduate studies. He found himself at the center of North Carolina's biggest poetry café, the Courtyard Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.
By 2004 he had become a talented Spoken Word poet and in 2005 he was honored by former USA poet Laureate, Robert Hass at the world International Environmental poetry competition. He played the lead role in the 2006 feature Theatrical play “Poor Vatic”, which he wrote and currently performs across High Schools, Colleges, and Universities in the United States.
Abdul-Fatawu has shared the same stage with such artists as Saul Williams, Dead Prez, Necro, and Mos Def on poetic scenes at the Nuriyocan Poetry Café in New York City. As a writer, Poet, Lyricist, and a critic, Abdul-Fatawu has been published in numerous publications, including The Asheville Review, Newark Review, the Q, The League of American Poets Anthology, and Jersey City Journal. He is currently working on a collection of his own poetry.
Five Questions with Prince Yahaya:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
I have been writing poetry since I was authored by the moon, then I was no earthling. I was just a young boy with three toes and faceless. But then I was discovered on a mountain leaf by a Martian Soldier called Alphajato by the wind in the garden in a womb of an angel. Thereafter, my pictured soul was rescued by earthling warriors back to earth. To make things short and sweet, I have been writing poetry since the age of 7, but in Ghana it wasn't known as poetry to me it was seen as proverbs and short story. My writing discovered me, so I realized that it wasn't just proverbs, it was poetry to poem and then poem to a poet.
2. Who are your favourite poets? Which poets have most inspired and informed your work?
Well, my favorite poets are as follows: Alexander Pushkin, Milton, C.S. Lewis, Tupac, Maya Angelou, Saul Williams, and many more.
Which poets have most inspired and informed my work? Well, it might sound strange and insane as you read my list of poets who have inspired me and informed my work, I say Adolf Hitler, Ide Admin, Mugabe, Eyadema (former president of Togo), Saddam Hussein, Pope Leo II, the Sudanese Government and more. These men do not wear the colors of a poet, but to me they were the real spoken word poets with their daily evils that truly inspired me to write about their wrong deeds, and also learn from their mistakes as well.
3. Has living outside of Ghana changed your impression of your homeland? If so, how?
Residing outside Ghana has possibly changed physical aspects of my life and the way I view things. But spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, I am still the same Ghanaian walking the streets of Tamale and Accra for survival. Living outside Ghana has also lit up the candle to the dark side of my life, releasing that Mother Ghana is the only place in my life where I can find peace, joy, freedom, and love and be loved by my own people. I can never, will never exchange my mother Ghana to another nation, I won't repeat the primitive and vicious mistakes our forefathers did 400 years ago, selling our beloved country to the foreigners. I love Ghana and will always love it no matter what.
4. What are your thoughts as you look forward to your return to Ghana in January 2008?
Well, I have no stationary thoughts. I have a stronger feeling that I am coming to Ghana in January 2008 to re-establish the art of poetry in the country, if only permitted the media and some entertainment television like TV3 and radio stations across the nation. I'm also working things out with my Ghanaian manager to host a huge "Black History Month Poetic Slam" for all University of Ghana students, faculty, and members of neighboring universities in Accra, at the Shangri-La Hotel.
I will will set up poetic youth centers in some regions to spread the word of poetry and human rights through activism. As the Chapter President for Amnesty International at my University in the States, I will be leading an intense Human Rights and Research project in the country. I will spread poetry on the rocky hills of mother Ghana.
5. You have done much to reach American audiences directly through your performances and publications. How can Ghanaians still living in Ghana reach international readers, especially those in North America? Do you think that in America there is an openness to African writing?
Yes, America is a land of opportunities, therefore there is an openness to whatever there is to be discovered, whether it be African writing or Venusian writing. I truly know in my own definition that poetry is the highest degree of freedom a man or woman could ever be given, so I strongly accede and believe that young Ghanaian poets today can reach American audiences if they are really focused on their work and how they express it.
Please let's not forget that America will make you an opportunist, and then later on institutionalize you. So, we've got to be careful.