Author Profile - Mariska Taylor-Darko


Born in Manchester, England in 1956, Mariska attended Holy Child Secondary School in Cape Coast and St. Mary's Secondary School, Mamprobi, Accra. She then returned to the UK and attended Beresford College of English and Commerce, Margate, Kent and later Harrow College of Further Education, Harrow, Middlesex. She has a PhD in Life.

She has two sons, Niinoi and Kwame. She is a motivational speaker, poet, writer, beautician, fire walker and lover of jazz, blues, reggae and old time highlife.

Five Questions with Mariska Taylor-Darko:

1. Having grown up in England, did you have the opportunity to witness the festival as a child? If so, how, and if not, why did you choose to write the poem from a child's perspective?

I grew up in England and when I was about six went to Ghana to continue my education there until I took my O'levels. I travelled between families across the globe so I did get to witness the festival first hand and I did observe it from the family house in Winneba. It was a must for all of us to go to the festival - not just for that day but for the three to four days around the festival. I saw it about three times because my Mum wanted us to know our roots, meet family and appreciate where we came from.

2. In the past we have discussed your series of poems on the negative aspects of Ghanaian traditions. Was this poem an outcome of that process - perhaps a counterpoint to the negative poems?

Actually I never thought of this poem as being a counterpoint to the negative poems I just write what I experience be it good or bad, negative or positive. I have had some wonderful positive experiences and these will be published too.

3. This poem could easily have been written as a short prose piece. What inspired you to write it as a poem?

The affair of the heart of the poet: you do what comes to you and if you start editing and changing structure and form you don't get the original feeling, so I wrote it as I poured forth.

4. You close the poem with a rhyming couplet, much like a Shakespearean sonnet. Were you thinking of the Shakespearean sonnet when coming up with that ending?

Not really. I was just doing my thing and it sounded right. I wanted it to end in a fun way, the same way we felt on that day.

5. You snapped the photo that serves as our header for OGOV in 2010. Can you tell us a bit about the photo - where it was taken, and what about it inspired you to send it in to us?

The photo was taken at a friends art gallery (Kofi and Helen) in a lovely restaurant and guest house situated in Accra. The name of the place is Afia Gallery and it is right next to MUSIGA and near the Art Centre. They have wonderful food, scenery and crafts. I just loved the way it was carved, the feel of the wood, and the theme - and took the picture. I thought it would make a good header... apparently I was right. I used a basic Fuji camera and took at at dusk, hence the shadows.

Contact Mariska:

Email: mariska.taylor(at)
Alternate Email: arabataylord(at)
Websites: African Woman's Poetry, Mariska's MySpace Page
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