You Too Will Know Me by Ama Asantewa Diaka (Poetra Asantewa)

Date Read: July 16th 2019

Published: June 11th 2019

Publisher: Akashic Books

Pages: 30

The Blurb

“Here is a poet whose practiced weaving of talk and song is a testament to her devotion to language and her clarity of vision. Those of us who have encountered Diaka with excitement invite you to listen with us as she offers us a new song, one which will surely not be her last” – Tjawandwa Dema

 

Review – ★★★★ (4 stars)

You Too Will Know Me is a chapbook that reads like a series of confessions, in an effort to better love and accept oneself. Through the sincere truths and feelings revealed, Diaka shows that ‘any day is a good day for redemption’, that there is joy in the morning and we can all start over again. Most of the poems speak to the challenges of adulthood, abandonment of lovers, unrequited love, (un)forgiveness, feminine strength + beauty and more.

Diaka’s writing style is bold – bold enough to have the words ‘God’ and ‘blowjob’ in the same stanza! Bold enough to capture the essence of what it’s like to be deeply disappointed in your home country for not loving its citizens enough (from my favorite poem – And I’ve Mastered The Art of Receiving Hand-Outs Because I Come From This Place).

••

Favorite quotes from various poems in the chapbook:

‘how do I distract myself from myself in order to free myself?’ – Before The Gag, page 12

 

‘What’s the English word for someone who still has hope in lovers who cause too much anxiety?
Tell me so I can spit it out.’ – Spit, page 13

 

‘Damn everybody!
Do they not know
that the sun borrows light from your fingertips?
Do they not know
that you give color to the rose?
Do they not know
that your breath is studied by the highest of connoisseurs
to make the best perfumes?
There’s something about you
that makes looking away impossible’ – Suicide Sarah, page 15

 

‘I am hungry for a love my country cannot afford…
I want a love
that doesn’t require me to be ridiculously multifaceted
in order to have a fraction of an equation at being equipped for survival;
a love that doesn’t wait for another suitor to sing the praises of my genius
before recognizing my worth,
or worse, only after I’m dead.
I am hungry for a love my country cannot afford,
the way white lusts for a backdrop to outshine.

And I’ve Mastered The Art of Receiving Hand-Outs Because I Come From This Place, page 18

 

‘I have been fretting over things that God shakes his head at
toying with faith as if it were a disappearing act.
One minute I’m full of it,
the next, I don’t exactly know the shape of it.
I fret over now and tomorrow,
giving myself and God a headache.
Spoon feed myself faith,
and come up hungry again…’ – Let It Be, page 22

••

Bloom is an unapologetically Ghanaian poem, that reads like a vivid short film. In the poem, the narrator takes readers to Accra, Ghana- Labadi, to be precise. The narrator describes the ordinary Ghanaians she sees on the road, simply living. The laugh and smiles of a porridge seller – Ms. Atta, keeps her customers coming for more, despite the deep pain and hurt she feels within.

‘These people teach me,
that if you are from Accra and you are placed anywhere in
the world,
there’s no way you won’t know how to bloom’ – Bloom, page 24

 

This collection is meant to be read more than once. Multiple readings will reveal different truths – about the poet and even you, the reader! Diaka’s work allows readers to meditate and examine their feelings towards their present lives. You Too Will Know Me is honest, visceral and necessary. Also, it’s Ghanaian AF!

 

★★★★ (4 stars) – Great book. Highly recommend!

You Too Will Know Me is part of a series published by Akashic Books in collaboration
with the African Poetry Book Fund:
New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Sita) (African Poetry)

Purchase it on Amazon

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3 thoughts on “You Too Will Know Me by Ama Asantewa Diaka (Poetra Asantewa)

  1. Thank you for reviewing this book, Darkowaa. First of all, I love that book cover! AMA ASANTEWA DIAKA is a new-to-me poet. I really want to read the whole poem “And I’ve Mastered the Art of Receiving Hand-Outs Because I Come From This Place.”

    For the #ReadGhanaian🇬🇭 challenge, I have the late Kofi Awoonor in the queue; it might be nice to read a younger Ghanaian poet, too.

    Just out of curiosity because in this post as well as the book chat about Tampered Press, you have alluded to certain written works having a flavor that is particularly Ghanaian….and I just wondered what that flavor consists of?! (Maybe something to explore in a later post – or should I go back to re-read your many posts that feature Ghanaian writers and their books?!😁😍)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Leslie!! Yes, the cover is BEAUTIFUL! Ayyy, I’m glad you’ll be participating in the #ReadGhanaian🇬🇭book challenge, and of course Awoonor is a great choice.

      Hmmm, for me the Ghanaian flavor has to be in the writing style. The use of Ghanaian-English – when the writer uses phrases we hear everyday/on the radio/ in our thoughts, without censoring the language for a Western audience (by over-explaining terms). Also, when a writer is able to portray a scene in a particular or familiar town in Ghana/Accra – like in Diaka’s poem ‘Bloom’, she takes us to Labadi, which is near the sea. Her description of the porridge seller, the dialogue within the poem and the description of various Ghanaian gestures and idiosyncrasies were so apt! That, in my opinion is VERY Ghanaian or as the youth say – Ghanaian AF. (I hope this explanation made sense haha)

      Like

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