Dear OGOV Readers,
Receiving the reins of this seminal magazine from the illustrious Rob Taylor was one of the most important days in my life this year. Reorganizing and restructuring has not been easy but poetry, being a continuum in itself, has ways of giving us opportunities to figure things out when they do not go as planned. It has been 5 months since I stepped in Rob’s shoes and I have been in pursuit of known and emerging talent to populate OGOV’s pages. Understandably, there has not been a lot of responses from the more established poets. Nevertheless, in the process of searching, I found many, many wonderful voices from Ghana. Some dabble in the art of spoken word. Others use poetry in novel ways that have gained them a lot of followers on social media. The Ghanaian world of poetry is exciting. It is filled with poets who are bent on using technology in varied ways to get their points across. It is, indeed, wonderful to witness the proliferation of fresh talent and to imagine the glorious future of poetry in my motherland.
As you might have observed over the past few months, new tabs have been added. They are Editor’s Desk, Poet of the Month, Poems of the Month, Art and Craft, Book Review and Contests, Grants and Fellowships. These changes were due to the necessity of giving a platform to poets who have been with OGOV over the years. Those poets, such as Adjei Agyei Baah and Darko Antwi, have their own gigs and do possess experience and exposure that emerging poets might benefit from. Editor’s Desk will contain my musings (and, hopefully, no pontifications) about exciting people and events in Ghanaian (and African) poetry. Poet of the Month will feature the life and times of a selected poet. It will build on the old format in which Rob had interviews and have the poet also write prose pieces about what makes them tick. Poems of the Month will feature four poems from the poet of the month, and, when possible, a commentary on the poem. Art and Craft will feature essays on poetry and writing from contemporary African poets. Book Review will be written by the wonderful Kwabena Agyare Yeboah, a poet/essayist in his own right and one of the finest young minds I have encountered. Contests, Grants and Fellowships will list opportunities for poets to win awards/prizes and chances to enhance their careers. We intend to exhaust every means to make poetry as attractive as possible to anyone who desires to pursue it.
For the month of October, OGOV will feature Elikplim Akorli (also known as the god of poetry). Mr. Akorli’s incisive pieces have fascinated me, ever since I started following him on SoundCloud. He graciously agreed to be the first baton holder in this continuous relay of poetry. I trust that you would enjoy his pieces just as I did when I first read them. I also want to use this opportunity to let you know that selected poets will be interviewed via phone and the interview posted on SoundCloud and YouTube.
Old beginnings and new endings, the continuum that poetry (and all literature) presents is tolerant of novelty and nuance. As Rob allowed a variety of styles on OGOV, I promise to continue to position OGOV as the nursery of literary excellence in Ghana. There will be experiments with new ideas. They might succeed or they might fail. As in life, what matters most is what is taken from what is experienced and who that experience turns us out to be. In a few weeks, the new tabs will be populated with content from established and emerging poets. We ask that, as our partners on this journey, you provide us with feedback and positive criticism. We still have tabs on old work such as Features and Archives. You can go through them to catch a glimpse of inspiration from the works of contributors such as the late LS Mensah and Edith Faalong.
Please go through our guidelines and send us your poetry. We will love to read them. We might like them at first read or we might ask for revisions. In the end, we are all here to make (and ask for) the best out of ourselves. I ask that you join me on this beautiful sojourn through terrains of poetry. To paraphrase the great Ayi Kwei Armah, the beautyful poems are not yet born.
Prince K. Mensah