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. You use repetition, especially of the word "many", quite intentionally in this poem. What interests you in repetition as a poetic device?
My interest in repetition as poetic device stems from the fact that, it tends to keep the focus of a poem intact, literally, whilst allowing you to associate different meanings to the repetitive word in the different stanzas of the poem. It also has the power of keeping your readers focused on the reading, at least for the fun of it. The use of repetition in this poem (in the word "many") was to keep me focused on the comparison I was making between what is perceived and what is actual. That there were others apart from what was being mentioned.
2. Similarly, what draws you to use rhyme in the ways you do? What effect to you hope for it to have on your reader?
Rhyming adds sound to a poem. It adds life to the fabric of any poem. I intentionally made the effort to rhyme in this poem just to give it another dimension, especially on the backdrop of the extensive use of "repetition." I want my readers to enjoy reading the poem and not be bored whilst doing that.
3. You mentioned in your last interview that you think of poetry as an educational tool. What has poetry taught you over the years?
Poetry teaches a lot. This poem, for instance, teaches that it is not the presence of potentials that matter, but how one exploits them to better his lot that really counts, hence, the child in our dream is different from the child that is born to us. It teaches us that as a people, we should be up and making our dreams what we have conceived them to be. That is the lesson I learn from this poem, and that is how I approach any poem i read - to try and learn something from its lines and story.
4. Do you read your poetry aloud, either at readings or to friends? If so, how does this affect your writing?
I write my poems to be read out loud and I read them out to friends who I know appreciate poetry. It is this that sometimes guides me in the use of such poetic devises that give rhythm and sound. It makes you conscious of the audience and generates a self-awareness that propels you to be coherent in your thought process.
5. What's new in your writing or personal life that you think our readers might be interested in? [Editor's Note: This interview was conducted in 2010]
I think I will be writing poems for a long time. There a several half baked poems that I have to complete and when that is done, who knows, I may have them published in hard copy with a full commentary on them. At the moment, I am still taking life easy in my little, quiet coastal town in Ghana, hoping to finish National Service soon.