Reginald Asangba Taluah is the first child of three. He was born on the 14th of April, 1984 to Mr. Charles Taluah and Mrs. Victoria Navro Taluah. He hails from Navrongo in the Upper East Region of Ghana and is a kassena Nankane by tribe. He is currently a final year student in the University of Ghana offering English and Sociology as a combined major.
Quite apart from his tertiary education in the capital of Ghana, all his previous education has been in the north, with both senior and secondary school education at Notre Dame Minor Seminary Secondary in Navrongo. He currently lives with his parents in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
Five Questions with Reginald Asangba Taluah:
1. "A Look at the Endless Sea" seems to be quite different from your last profiled poem, "The Western Winds," in that this seems more personal and spiritual, while "The Western Winds" was more political. Is your writing generally so diverse, or do you usual favour writing one type of poetry more ( i.e. the political over the spiritual)?
My writing generally is diverse and that is because I do not choose to write but instead the force behind what is written drives me. I personally overall prefer my political poems because of the force behind them when I recite them. I give my senses their due and through them emanates poetry which transcends time.
2. In your last profile, you spoke of the ways in which Prof. Kofi Awoonor has supported you and your writing. Has there been anyone else in your life who has similarly inspired and encouraged you to write?
I will find it difficult to place someone second to Prof. Awoonor. However Prof Anyidoho, David Diop, Wole Soyinka, the Miltons and the Mutabarukas, to mention but a few, have all served a great deal in my life as a poet.
3. You mentioned previously that your first connection with poetry came through writing for your secondary school newsletter. Along those lines, do you have any thoughts on ways of reaching out to Ghanaians who have not previously been involved with poetry, and getting them interested?
It is a painful truth I must in my loneliness say: most Ghanaians do not love to read. Most detest coded language not because they do not think but because they do not want to take the pain to read between lines. Our publishers will say it all. Even if the attempt is made, they prefer to read prose. Hence any attempts at poetry have always yielded little, if any, fruit.
I have a dream that someday, if not on my own but with the help of other concerned citizens, I will organise some sort of literary revolution in the form of poetry in all levels of education. That will also be on one condition, that the sponsors and media houses will find its relevance and not concentrate solely on the "Miss Something Something" in unnecessary forms and numbers within a year. And with this vision of a true mission, I someday, in glee, will say: Today is the tomorrow I said yesterday.
4. Was the scene described in "A Look at the Endless Sea" based upon a real experience of yours? If so, where did it happen and why did it inspire you so at that moment?
The scene described in "A Look at the Endless Sea" is based on a real experience. It is said wittily, if not wisely, that the eyes are the windows of the soul; I give liberty unto my eyes and they make me glad. More often than not, I visit my Aunt from school at the Korle Bu nurses Flats and in curiousity, I will take a walk down the Korle Beach were I am almost alone to cogitate. When I wrote it, I was not there to swim or have fun as others will go to beaches for, but instead I went for a thinking spree. The atheist's deliberate inability not to see God is mistaken to mean He does not exist. However, being inspired by the splendour of the sea I could not resist but see the grandeur of the master architect behind that eternal creation. And sometimes, when I can't contain the splendour, I weep.
5. As a native of the Upper East Region, when was the first time you travelled to the coast and saw the sea? What effect did this have on you?
My first arrival at the coast was in 1998, of which day and month I can't in certainty say. In those days, I went to the beaches to either swim or make merry. At a point in time, I saw the sea as in picturesque description, as a mouth, of which the waves served as the tongue which welcomed all but was also capable of retaining others as they drowned.
I saw the sea at first as all saw it and still see it to be, but as my poetic sensibilities got hold of me, I began to look at things in a different light. Where I laugh, others might not find a reason, but within me I know why.
Reginald's Past Profiles:
Issue 1.5, April 21st-27th, 2007