Kwadwo Oteng Owusu is the third born of four siblings. He grew up primarily in Kumasi and graduated from Prempeh College and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a B.Sc. Development Planning degree. Currently he is doing his national service in Mfantseman Municipal Assembly, Central Region and is attached to the World Vision Mfantseman ADP, Saltpond.
Five Questions with Kwadwo Oteng Owusu:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
I have been writing poems since my secondary schools days (in Prempeh College). It was something I started initially as a pastime to wile away time. I just loved playing with words in my mind and then started to put ideas on paper.
2. Who are your favorite poets? Which poets have most inspired and informed your work?
I love stories and this makes me love poets who are story-tellers. This is why I seem to have a liking for poets of African descent: Kofi Anyidoho, Efua Sutherland, Maya Angelou, etc. Funny enough, the person that inspires me most as a poet is Charles Wesley (the Hymnist). I just love the way he played with words and still managed to keep the original meaning of the gospel in them.
3. What do you hope to accomplish with your poetry?
I hope to stimulate thinking with every poem. I want people to read my poems and be spurred on to read more about the topics I have discussed in them. To me, poetry should educate and better still, lead to further education. If my poems achieve this, I will feel I have contributed to society in that small way.
4. What do you think needs to be done to promote and strengthen poetry in Africa?
Poetry has the ability to develop minds in ways not yet explored. I believe avenues like OGOV should be made more accessible to young people interested in poetry. It is all about demand and supply. Painting as an art thrived in medieval and rennaisance periods because Kings showed interest and appreciated such art forms. Society must show interest and this is why I love what OGOV is doing... creating the demand avenue for the supply to come. I believe poems become alive when recited, and so, such avenues should be made more accessible.
5. How important are outside editors, critics, etc. to the development of your writing?
Editors and critics are to writing as examiners are to students. They play a crucial role in making sure people write good materials. Editors help put writings in good standing. Editors play a similar role as the role played by medications between the Physicians and the Patient - the utmost aim is to treat the patient. It's always good to have someone comment on your writing, good or bad it helps a lot. I think editors and critics are a must have if writing is to develop in Africa.