By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
The maiden edition of “Let’s Talk Poetry”, a monthly forum that seeks to bring together poets, writers, critics and lovers of literature took off last week at the library of the Goethe-Institut in Accra.
Facilitated by poet / arts development consultant Crystal Tettey, a panel comprising poet Apiorkor Seyram Ashong Abbey and writer / poet Nana Nyarko Boateng dilated on issues relating to “Spoken Word” and “Written Word”.
The panelists lamented on the ever-dwindling reading habit among Ghanaian youth tracing the problems to the change in curriculum, which virtually removed reading as a subject in primary schools with the lack of libraries and inception of smart mobile phones among others compounding the problem.
Undeniably, Spoken and Written Word compliment each other although the written text tends to eliminate an important context such as body language, tone of voice and even background noise – elements that aid in physical engagement.
Certainly, Ashong Abbey and Boateng, who have severally and jointly made huge efforts through workshops and regular reading programmes to promote the culture of reading among pupils and students in various parts of the country, are upbeat about gains being made to get the youth to read.
Indeed, with spoken word, one can add emotions in the speech and influence the audience – a feat that is possible but obviously not easy with the written word. However, it appears both genres have been able to compliment each other through the activities of Ashong Abbey and Boateng in the struggle to improve the reading habits of young Ghanaians.
Singer / songwriter Eli A. Free and keyboardist Kojo Free delighted the enthusiastic audience, who equally shared their experience with both spoken and written word with heart warming acoustic music that appeared to flow directly from a continuous stream.
The programme, which was interspersed with readings by Ashong Abbey who presented a poem titled “The Honey Pot”, while Nyarko read extracts from “The Jonah Fast” – one of three books she recently authored – was sponsored by Goethe-Institut Ghana.