Abdulai Rashad is an environmental health student and a junior member of the University for Development Studies, Ghana. He developed a passion for spoken or recital poetry after he completed secondary school in 1997. At that point he started writing poems. He won an award of poetry recital in Tamale in 2001, in an event organised by the Red Cross. He currently writes poems for himself with hopes of publishing them in the future.
Five Questions with Abdulai:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
Sometimes I ask myself this same question and always find it difficult to answer. All that I do know about my start of writing poetry and documenting it is that I was about fourteen (14) years. There is no precise time I can tell, for I really started writing poetry the first day I was introduced to writing as a child.
2. Who are your favorite poets? Which poets have most influenced and informed your work?
I get so touched with this because whenever I mention them I feel the desire to write a poem. I get so inspired by these poets for their poetry. So, I mention Prof. Dr. Atukwei Okai, Mutabaruka, Gina Loring and T.S. Eliot.
3. What do you hope to accomplish with your poetry?
I hope to dine and wine the winds of wisdom with kings, noblemen, responsible people on earth no matter where they come from, such that I will be talked about when life becomes lifeless.
4. We are still months away from the Harmattan. What are your feelings on it looking forward.
I was born in November, within the shelves of Harmattan. It is great to have such geographically-unique weather. There will be great feast in some communities as this is the best period to celebrate the best cultural practices in the North.
5. Can you tell us more about the poetry recital in Tamale at which you won an award? What was it like, and how did you become involved.
The program was organised to create awareness on HIV/AIDS but there have not been such activities organised since, to the best of my knowledge. I got involved when my social group was invited, by then I was sort of bumped into it and luckily took the trophy.