2013 in Review

Normally at this time we would be posting our "Favourite Poems" of the year for everyone to review (you can read past "Favourite Poems" posts here). But 2013 has not been a "normal" year for OGOV, or for African literature. We began the year with a three-month publishing hiatus - our first in our almost eight-year history, and our publishing cycle was then sadly interrupted three times to mark three great losses in African writing, culture and history: Chinua Achebe's death in March, Kofi Awoonor's death in September, and Nelson Mandela's death in December. On each occasion we took time from our normal schedule to stop and reflect on these giants - most notably with Kofi Awoonor, for whom we devoted two weeks of poem-a-day tributes. You can read that special coverage here:

Poem and Tribute to Chinua Achebe

Kofi Awoonor Memorial Poems

Poem and Tribute to Nelson Mandela

2013 also saw one other - more anticipated, on our part - major endeavour: our systematic cataloguing of Ghanaian poets' literary influences, which we presented in a series of posts under the title Ghanaian Poetry's Influences. It was both heartwarming and saddening to be able to reveal that Kofi Awoonor topped the list as the poet who has had the greatest impact on Ghanaian poets writing today. Saddening to be reminded that we had just lost such an icon, heartwarming to know his poems and memory will live on for many years. We hope that this research can help guide new writers to new influences, and can serve as a sign post for where Ghanaian writing was at this particular moment in time. If you haven't reviewed the results yet, follow this link and click through the various posts listed at the bottom.

Between all of this, unfortunately, we were not able to publish near the volume of new, regular (non-elegiac!) poetry that we normally do here at OGOV - which led to our decision not to hold a "Favourite Poems" competition this year. What we did publish, though, including new poems by Martin Egblewogbe, Daniel Karasik and Aisha Nelson, and a song by OGOV favourite Kae Sun, was among the strongest content we've published in years. So it's not a stretch to say that while we didn't have a competition this year, we feel everything published this year was a "favourite" in one way or another! Take a look through our archives to see for yourself.

One last exciting addition in 2013 was more a formality than anything - Darko Antwi, long time OGOV stalwart, was officially drawn into the fold as a Contributing Editor (one of our first requests of him was the commissioned Mandela tribute poem we published earlier this month). Welcome, Darko! It's good to have you around.

We are very excited as we look forward to 2014. New poems, a new How Poems Work essay, and a new interview series are already in the works. Who knows what all will follow that - like everyone else, we'll have to wait and see what 2014 holds for us!

We leave you with a poem by Contributing Editor Prince Mensah, posted below. Happy New Year, all!

Rob Taylor
on behalf of the OGOV team

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