Date Read: July 16th 2019
Published: June 11th 2019
Publisher: Akashic Books
“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
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
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!
- Check out last year’s bookchat with Ama Asantewa Diaka (Poetra Asantewa), who is the founder of the Ghanaian literary magazine – Tampered Press
★★★★ (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