Martin Egblewogbe currently lives in Accra, Ghana. He holds an MPhil in Physics and is starting a PhD while teaching at the University of Ghana.
For several years he hosted/produced the literary programme "Open Air Theatre" on Radio Univers in Accra, and organised "Just Imagine", a series of poetry recitals from 2003 - 2006. He has also participated in several public book readings in Accra. He currently helps run both The Ghanaian Book Review (Kpoklomaja) and the Ghana Poetry Project.
Martin's writing has been featured in The Weekly Spectator and The Mirror, and his works can be found in a number of collections, including An Anthology of Contemporary Ghanaian Poems. He has won prizes for a number of short stories and spoken word performances.
Apart from Physics and writing, Martin is interested in Philosophy, Still Photography, and Computers (software, hardware).
Five Questions with Martin Egblewogbe:
1. This poem features a refrain. What effect were you hoping for this device to have on your reader?
Well, in this instance, the refrain was to keep reminding the reader of the scene in which the piece is set, both literally and as a metaphor.
2. You sometimes use ellipses (...) and other devices to inform your reader of pauses or hesitations in your poems. You also use line breaks and first-letter capitalization to great effect. How much do you think a reader needs to be informed about when to pause while reading, and how much should they be left to determine when to pause on their own?
I like for my poems to read smoothly, and this is why these devices are included -- to slow the pace of the poem or to speed it up. The breaks are as much for me the writer, as for me the reader. I just hope, after completing a piece, that a reader is not hindered by the arrangement of the lines. But then again, as I mentioned before, my poems are written with a rather selfish intent -- of sounding good to me.
3. Some of your lines have a great sonic effect, such as "Friends clinking glasses before the bombs came down". Do you read your poems aloud to yourself as you write them? For you, how important is the sound of a poem?
Yes, reading the poems aloud is very important to me -- I do not consider a poem complete until it sounds OK and can be read with a minimum of awkward pauses and "hanging" lines -- however, I think that this is difficult to achieve and I am unsure about my success in this particular poem.
4. Give us an update on kpokplomaja. How are things going there and how can our readers contribute?
The Ghanaian Book Review is growing rather slowly, but it is running and still features a good number of Ghanaian poets and book reviews. The site receives about 400 hits a day, and this is trending upwards. However, the content is not growing as quickly as one would like.
5. Through your work promoting Ghanaian writing you must have come across a number of new writers that our readers aren't familiar with (or should become more familiar with!). Can you suggest a few people we should look out for?
There are a good number of poets who are operating outside our current sphere of friends, too many to list here.