Edith N. Faalong was born to Mr. Joseph Y Faalong and Madame Hellen Tanye in the Upper West Region of Ghana. She currently lives in Accra, reading economics and geography as a third-year student at the University of Ghana.
Five Questions with Edith Faalong:
1. When you are writing a poem, do you think about an audience? If so, what is that audience? Ghanaian? International?
I do think about an audience in my writing. I assume an international audience and that's the reason why I try to be very vivid with the imagery. Because it's most probable that seventy percent of the audience have never seen or had first hand experience with what I am putting out yet, I want to make sure they feel it, know it, hear it, the same way I did.
2. Your descriptions of landscape and people in this poem are very vivid. Do you write only from memory at home, or do you sometimes go out and write in the community, recording what you actually see in real time?
I mainly write from memory, from streams of thought or consciousness, but with this particular poem I was in a moving vehicle on my way back from my village and the landscape and immediate past interaction with my people started to speak to me. I had to capture it but I also thought to infuse the life, culture, character and very presence of these people. So i wrote it in real time. I should also add that real time helps me a lot because it serves to trigger all the streams of thought.
3. You moderated our last roundtable discussion. How did you find this process? Beyond these roundtables, how do you think, going forward, Ghanaian writers can better engage in discussions or craft and issues related to poetry?
Moderating the last roundtable was an enlightening experience for me. I got to personally tap the minds of very intelligent women. I enjoyed every moment. Going forward, writers are very passionate. They do not need much external motivation. The need to make a positive change is always alive. We will do well to form local groups, learn from the writers around us and keep the spirit.
4. In the last roundtable, you noted that "I however think that Ghanaian writing has been historically male dominated because, in earlier years, the African writer was reacting to strong and sometimes violent social issues which our women were not encouraged to meddle in." Considering that many more women are writing now, would you say that this is because women are now more encouraged to be involved with strong social issues, or because the subject matter tackled by African poets has expanded to include more traditional "female spheres"? Perhaps both, or something else?
I will say there hasn't been much to encourage women. There has been expansion on the subject area, yes. This has however been nothing I will call "traditional female spheres". I will say though that the present female presence in literature has everything to do with simple female determination, enlightenment and a growing awareness of true potential.
5. Are you working on any new projects or poems that our readers may be interested in?
I am working on a few writings. The most recent poem I wrote was for my mother. It's very deep but most of what it says has double meanings which only my family will understand. It's not for publication but this audience will hear from me again soon.