Reginald Asangba Taluah is the first child of three. Born on the 14th of April, 1984 in Tamale, he hails from Navrongo in the Upper East Region of Ghana. He had his secondary education at Notre Dame Minor Seminary in Navrongo, and received his B.A degree in English and Sociology in 2007. He is currently a Teaching Assistant at the Department of English-University of Ghana.
Reginald took up writing in his secondary days; writing poems, articles, and short stories for the “Notre Dame News Letter”. With a perennial interest in poetry he is one of the strong voices in performance poetry. Reginald believes in truth and that it is through the arts that truth is well told. Kofi Awoonor is his influential father figure; with Kofi Anyidoho and Atukwei Okai among others being a great influence in his writing career.
Five Questions with Reginald Asangba Taluah:
1. You use rhyming in interesting ways, sometimes hardly at all, while sometimes, as at the end of this poem, almost constantly (including internal rhyme). What motivates you to choose when to rhyme and when not to rhyme? What effects are you hoping to produce?
Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory is quoted to have said “Practice without thought is blind: Thought without practice is empty.” Trying to capture what it feels like experiencing a self-destruction, I dared to experiment with a personal poem in perhaps a dramatic monologue that develops from narrative to lyricism to embody qualities like moving language, rhythm, tension and imagery.
Seeking to create a doorway through which others can come through a thought provoking experience, rhyme sort of sets poetry apart from ordinary conversation and brings it closer to music to make it sound special and memorable to stimulate and captivate the audience.
With regards to its effects, a good poem that is sparked by sound imagery would only be better if sounds of words in tango with meaning serve to please the mind and ear in euphony. It gives it a musical quality and thus makes it easy to memorize.
2. What impact do you think the arrival of products like Lactogen and Cerelac had on the Ghanaian population?
In a way, Lactogen and Cerelac set some Ghanaians on a higher pedestal in terms of status. Since Lactogen and Cerelac are artificial foods, I do not in any way see them as a good catalyst to the development of an individual as compared to the natural breast milk that more thoughtful individuals are fed on. I can’t give any scientific explanation for this; but I know and do have glaring examples.
3. Do you think that Ghanaians, who have seem comparatively little national strife when compared to their African neighbours, have a unique perspective on African conflict? If so, how?
Perhaps I should say yes. Being witnesses to the atrocities caused by conflict in other neighbouring countries in a way serves as a deterrent to Ghanaians. The assertions and praises rained on Ghanaians as being “peaceful” is also the driving force for Ghanaians not to tarnish the already good image they have attained.
4. We spoke over a year ago about the state of poetry at Legon. At that point you were optimistic. What is your opinion now? Has anything changed? If so, for better or for worse?
My optimism on the state of poetry is not what I had expected. Though things have changed for the better, they are moving at a snail's pace. I might be expecting a rapid change but I don't believe that cheering and hope alone attain the intended changes.
5. How about poetry in Accra in general? Have you seen any positive developments? If not, what do you think a first step forward might be?
Finding grounds where works of poetry are admired is almost always a challenge for the poet. Newspapers and magazines have appeared profusely in the city of Accra, but they turn to being more sensational than subtle. There are developments alright but not at the expected pace. The more symposiums, conferences and competitions organised, the better the development.