INTERVIEW: KUMI WILLIAM DuBOIS


Kumi William DuBois: “This book called
‘Beautiful Africa’ is the beauty of Africa
painted in words”

A Young And Rising Ghanian Poet

follow him on: facebook , twitter and instagram

Interview By Alberto Berenguer and Frank Osei Nyame

 

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KUMI WILLIAM DuBOIS.
*Poetry is the native language of the heart, you don’t need an interpretor for your heart to understand the poem 

First, briefly who is Kumi William Du Bois? What are you
about?
I am a young man in my 20’s who loves words and art in a
bigger perspective. From Kindergarten, I have been known
as a poetry lover. I decided to start writing in my Junior
High school days due to a poem I read; the poem was that
of David Diop “The Vultures”. The poem really fought its
way into my heart and made me start writing. I am now
pursuing a Degree in communication at the Ghana Institute
of Journalism. Day dreaming is one thing I cannot live
without for a moment. It keeps me going and writing.

Tell us about your book and your literary style of
writing. How effective do you think infusing the local
language, TWI, into your poem will be to a foreigner who
does not know the language?
Beautiful Africa is an anthology I published at the age of
19 with other featured poets from Ghana and the United
States of America. The book is not just an anthology but
an anthology with 100 literary devices. There are 20 poems
in the book which 12 of those poems are mine and the
remaining 8 poems are those of the featured poets. The
book is available online only.
My writing style is very unique due to the way and topics
I usually write about.
Poetry is the native language of the heart you don’t need
an interpreter for your heart to understand the poem. Twi
in Ghana is one of the most used local languages even
when foreigners come to explore Ghana, they fall for the
language and since I was born in this language I am very
fluent in it. Infusing twi in my writing helps me to create
a connection between my reader who less understand
English I always have a glossary column where I explain all
the local dialect I used in the poem so this serves as a
guide to the foreigner who does not understand the langue.
Also doing this makes the poem more indigenous.

When did you decide to share your thoughts with
everybody through writing and why did you choose
anthology (poetry)?
I have always wanted to publish a book since my Junior
High School days. I had a book that I wrote in, it had the
format of a publish book thus with table of content,
dedication, forward and all you could think of in a book.
This dream died out because the book got lost. In 2012, I
was listening to a radio Poetry program and as I heard the
poet read something in me pushed me to share my
thoughts with everybody I could get in touch with so from
there, I started posting poems on Facebook. In 2013 I
decided to do a self-publishing online with create space. I
published the anthology when I was 19 years, I shared my
thoughts when I was 18 and I decided to have a project
for myself each year, the anthology was a milestone for
me to accomplish in 2013 and with the help of great people
and God I was able to come up with it. I wish to record
an album instead of anthology in my next project if God
permits.

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 The Book

What does this book mean to you? What motivated the
making of this book? What motivates you to write and
what topics do you like to write about?
When I look back to the days I was dreaming of being a
young writer, who really doesn’t care about what others
have to say about thinking outside the box, I can smile and
say I made it, I am making it, I will make it again. This
book is a springboard for me to step on to greater heights.
I was motivated to publish this book by this words I
always asked myself “where you there? What did you do?
What happened?” I was young, I was able to publish an
anthology with other poets, it was a great experience and
I learnt a lot from it. I write on a lot of topics, the
natural environment keeps me motivated in writing, good
music and good books arouses my feeling to write.

Why should anybody read this book?
This book called “Beautiful Africa” is the beauty of Africa
painted in words. I will recommend it to everyone with
doubts about the beauty of Africa. Besides the horrible
things happening Africa is still beautiful.

I understand this book is co-authored by other writers,
can you tell us why you decided to make it so, what
brought you all together and what impact does it have on
the book and therefore your readers? Who are the other
co-authors?
Beauty has not one definition; Me only defining the beauty
of Africa in my poems in an anthology would have been
bias. We were brought together by love of poetry and
commitment to the art. Imagine someone from USA
sending poems about Africa, telling his side of Africa’s
story in his own perspective. It was a beautiful
experience. The impact the togetherness will have on
readers will be that one which makes them think in
“teams”.

“When you walk alone, you walk fast and scared. When you
walk in group you walk slow and safe”- Kumi William Du
Bois

Personally I really liked poems like UNFORGETABLE
MOTHER OF AFRICA, UNTIL THE END OF TIME, FUTURE,
and TELL ME to SILCHAGUMA and a lot of others from
the book. Which of the poems in will you call your
favorite and why?
Beautiful Africa is an anthology having a poem titled
“Beautiful Africa”. Beautiful Africa is my favorite poem in
the book. Why? Because the poem talked much about how I
dream of Africa. As beautiful as beauty could ever be.

Poems like THE GOLDEN STOOL OF FRIENDLINESS and
GIRL WHO HATED RAIN are based on African legends. We
see how western writers tap into Roman and Greek
legends and history and many others of their oral
literature. Ghana has rich legends , folk tales and history.
In what ways do you think these rich sources of
literature has contributed to our written literature? Do
you think the writing community in Ghana and Africa in
general has abandoned their history and legends?
This question? Lol.. As a human being, your place of living
should have influence on you in some ways thus your way
of life. Our history and legends has influence on our
literature. Hmm not all Africans have abandoned their
history, but most of the Africans of my time are
gradually doing away with the rich history.

The books title is BEAUTIFUL AFRICA; to you personally,
how is Africa beautiful and what does being an African
mean to you?
Africa is beautiful in her own ways. The people, the
natural resources and the culture is enough to say Africa
is beautiful. Being an African, some people sees it to be a
challenge but it’s one of the unique things about me. Being
an Africa doesn’t mean “Black”. It means the kind of zeal
you have to accomplish tasks beyond perceptions. I love
being an African.

Reviews from readers are always very important for an
author. What are some of the opinions you receive on you
book and poems in general?
It is quite unfortunate I haven’t read a lot of reviews but
the ones I have read are very encouraging. A great woman
in USA for instance sent me a picture she took when she
got her copy online. Her views on the book were “it is
inspirational”. Others also just send me emails to tell me
about the poems they like in the book. The few who has it
are talking good about it.

Where can readers find you book?
One can get his or her copy on Amazon.com, in kindle
format or hard copy. Also one can get access to the book
when he or she types “Beautiful Africa by Kumi William Du
Bois”. Some online promoters who I will not be able to
mention their names have it in stock. It is online for you.

 

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William performing at a spoken word event

 

Apart from the fact that one is spoken and the other
written, how different is spoken and written poetry? As
an artist who does both spoken and written poetry, do
you think one is more effective than the other? Which of
them do you prefer?
Now I can say, Spoken poetry or spoken word is very
effective than the written poetry. I have been performing
spoken word for 3 years now and I can say it that it
sends my massage well for me. Written is also important
but Spoken word is more effective. I am looking forward
to record an album.
What can readers find on your blog ‘ Inky African ’? How
has blogging helped you as a writer?
Readers who visit my blog always find good poems on daily
basis. It’s all about good poems. I started blogging in 2013
April, and It has not been an easy journey for me, there
were sometimes I couldn’t blog for about seven months
due to connectivity and accessibility issues but I have
made more than two thousand views on my blog since I got
the things I needed to make it booming. The traffic on the
blog encourages me to put in more effort. I love my
readers especially those from Spain, USA, England and
Ghana. They always read. The blog helped me indirectly to
be listed among the 100 influential Ghanaians on Twitter
for the years 2014. Thanks to WordPress.

Do you think that e-book will be competing against the
paper format in a few years in Ghana?
No. I will say no again. I will only say yes when Ghana
starts to get online marketing houses ready to promote
books or promote published books online.

Do you read a lot? What other writers inspire you?
Yes I read a lot. Maya Angelou, Efo Kwadwo Mawubge, Prof
Atukwie Okai, William Wordsworth, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o , Prof
Kofi Awoonor and many more.

Do you have any upcoming literary projects we should
expect? Would you want go into novel writing sometime
in the future or you plan to stick with anthology?
I am now compiling spoken word poems of my own to
record. I will like to use this platform to call for
sponsorship in the producing and marketing of the album. I
am working with worldreader on a poetry program. Check
it out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the name “Trotro Poetry”. I am not planning of another anthology
yet but may be in the near future.

Finally, would you recommend a book for followers of DE
LECTURA OBLIGADA and THE FANATIC READER?
Of course I will recommend books and links but the first
book I will recommend is “Beautiful Africa” on
Amazon.com and the link will be
williampoet.wordpress.com (Inky African).
You can also follow me on twitter at @deOnly_Koo_Kumi,
like my page on Facebook at Tyba Poetry, and on
Instagram at @kookumi.
I will also recommend “ In the chest of a woman” by Efo
Kwadwo Mawubge due to it rich culture of Africa. Readers
please any book you get your hands on by Wole Soyinka
should be read. Peace. Thanks for having me.

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