Demencia Magazine: Tell us about yourself… about the place you were born. Who is William DuBois, What kind of things inspire you day by day?
William Du Bois: My name is William Du Bois Kumi, I come from Mampong Akuapem a town in the Eastern region of Ghana. I am currently a second year student in the Ghana Institute of Journalism studying for a Bachelors Degree in communication. I am a poet and a photographer but I am widely know for my poetry. The place I was born is a very lovely place, a town on the mountain and everything be it natural or artificial inspires me. Mostly my day to day experiences helps me a lot to create works which last long because of how my audience communicates to and with it. My space of creativity is not closed to a few things even though sometimes I practice cerebral hygiene.
DM: Why did you start to write? At what age?
WDB: I started writing at the age… I couldn’t remember my age, but I remember why I started writing. I didn’t choose to write, writing chose me. Growing up, I was a very reserved and quiet person so most of the things that gets to me either good or bad couldn’t be communicated to people because of how I lived my early life. I lived by observing a lot and saying less so when I realized that all those words I manage to pull out from the darken corners of my retina and hearts could be named as poetry, I started reading other poems and that was at the age of 13 I guess, the reason why I guess is that I never knew I would be in the face and minds of people with my writings so I didn’t keep records of such things which made me throw away most of my poems without documenting them. Those days I wrote poems when I face something that I am not use to everyday.
DM: What poetry styles do you prefer? Why do you write and recite poetry?
WDB: I do not have any poetry style. I don’t want to be restricted when freeing myself. A self, thoughts and messages that I have kept in me for a while needs to be written without a restrictions. I have read some poems but I am not a fun of those laid down rules.
Every word I put on paper is with a mood and a tone, even though readers may be able to detect the tone and mood, will they be able to portray it as I would? No, Not really. So I choose to reach my audience with my voice, emotions, moods and tones so that my message is carried across very well. Also mostly I create imaginary characters and I send them on adventures with my poems and I need to be a God for once on a stage to direct how they go about this adventure. This is the reason why I recite or perform my poems.
DM: Which have been the writers who have influenced in your career as a poet?
WDB: A few writers have been able to influence me in diverse ways. Some influenced me when I started to finding my feet in poetry. William Shakespear appeared in my grandfathers library a lot of times so there is no way I could avoid him, and also in a collection of poems which I dont remember the name, William Stafford, Langston Huges, Kofi Awoonor, Kofi Anidoho have played a part in my poetry journey. The silent inspirers I call them is my Grandmother, Mother, Aunties and some members of the family who have their ways around my native launguage every well (Twi) also played their part.
DM: What drove you to publish an anthology? How did you contact with the other poets who are part of “Beautiful Africa”?
WDB: I set goals for myself every year so the anthology was a “must” in my project 19, thus when I was 19 years. When I was 19, I wrote more than 150 poems and they were all connected to my roots. I had to tell the world that I have arrived, I didnt care about how deep the poems were or how grammatically on point there were, I needed to send my message across, this couldnt have been done without the help of other poets like me (same age or older than me). I got my poems ready, I sent a message on facebook to call out poets who wants to contribute poems to the publication. I named the book “Beautiful Africa” because I painted the beauty of Africa through words, beauty of war, love, culture and social issues be it politics and the others.
DM: Where can our readers find your book and your poems?
WDB: The book is promoted on online libraries around the world. On online stores like Amazon and createspace, you can get yourself a copy of Beautiful Africa. You can just type my name in any search engine and the possible results that will appear will be about the book.
DM: What would you recommend to our readers who publish their books on amazon? Have you try to contact with publishers?
WDB: Self-publishing is good, very very good. I encourage others to try it if only they have online promoters and a market audience ready to buy at any cost. My book is been promoted by people I don’t know, the online libraries and stores promote them and I see it all the time I check on it. I have not contacted any publishing house yet and I don’t have that in mind for now because I am focused on audio visual documentation of my art works.
DM: Do you have any upcoming literary projects?
WDB: I have, it currently running for a year, and this is not upcoming but ongoing. It is called Trotro Vibes. I also have ideas which I am putting them together for photography and poetry performance, exhibition and installation. I dont know how it will go yet but that the upcoming.
DM: We know that you are involve in a new project, tell us about Trotro Vibe’s How it began? Which have been the best experience by participating in this project?
WDB: Trotro Vibes began in the later part of 2014. A group of poets were contacted by an NGO named Worldreader to embark on a reading campaign and it was called trotro poetry. The campaign saw my team (Tyba Poetry) championing the cause so people or fans started asking me when will I be doing it again. We go into public transport buses (Trotro as it is called in Ghana) and we perform our poems to the passengers for free after that we educate them on how to read free books on their mobile phones which is a worldreader supported program. So Trotro Vibes is a campaign to inculcate reading habits into Ghanaians. The best experience was since the day the deal was signed to partner with worldreader, the team is such an amazing team that could never do wrong when it comes to making Trotro Vibes a success, we got BBC feature, Tv news features, Raadio interviews and a 3 day twitter trend in Ghana and Africa in a whole. Thanks to my team members, they are amazingly awesome.
DM: What is happening with poetry in your country? Are people watching, reading and selling poetry or they prefer the phenomenon of the bestsellers?
WDB: Poetry is doing well in Ghana, now many people are writing and performing. Some are making money from it and others are also struggling. The world have always been a place where people are satisfied with what they think its the best or its known by the masses that its the best. There are some good writers out here is Ghana whose works have not tasted the air of radio or Tv before because the media and the masses are comfortable with what they know.
DM: This number of the magazine will be about love. Could you recite us a poem that expresses your love for Africa?
I am painting
Painting portrait of Africa
Painting the beautiful face of Mother Africa
Whose sons and daughters run from her
So tell the ingrate that he will love to see it
I am carving
Carving the toil of our forefathers
Sold into slavery on the ticket of bottles of whiskeys and mirrors
Blinded with the Bible, counterpoised by civilization
So tell the traitors that they will like it
I am weaving
Weaving names of heroes and heroines
Du Bois, Luther King, Shaka, Marcus, Yaa Asantewaa, Kwame Nkrumah, Kunta Kente
So tell the hopeless that hope is installed in Africa
I am building
Building the torn empires of Africa
Where we were born and raised
Rebuilding the deprived villages
Where our umbilical cord was planted
So tell the homeless that home sweet home
I am singing
Singing the songs of pride
Singing the songs of liberation of Africa
Songs of wit, songs of war that brought peace and songs of sorrows
Songs of hope built in tears and toil,
Songs sung at grave yards
So tell the warriors that they fought a good fight
I am drawing
Drawing a new Africa where peace will reign
Africa where our heritage will resurrect
Africa where still-life birth will be banished
So tell the hopeless that hope is installed in Africa