A week or two ago I came across a headline that reads as followed: Young Liberian Poet Wins International Award in Literature. That young Liberian poet is Eduardo De Bosco. A young Liberian determined to burst out of the literary obscurity of Liberia. There is another young Liberian, Karn Jeremy Karn whose poetry chapbook has been accepted for publication by the editors of the New Generation of African Poets. This is certainly good news out of Liberia, a nation whose literary tradition goes as far back as the founding of the nation by the African American settlers in the 1800s.
Jeremy Kam’s submission was evaluated and accepted for publication by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani who are themselves renowned African poets of great reputation in the literary world. This publication is part of the Africa Poetry Book Series. In writing about this recently in her Facebook post as a milestone, Prof. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley wrote, “For several years now, I have seen one young African son and daughter after the other, published and have prayed for at least one young person from my country, and have wondered when my own country could produce a young person to join these other young people.” Now comes this inclusion of a young Liberian poet as a literary achievement worth recognition and celebration, according to the Liberian poet, Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, who is a professor of English at Penn State University. In admonishing the young man to keep writing, Dr. Wesley went on to say, “keep writing because there is more to do, more to come, more bridges to cross. You need a full collection of poems, and we are here, waiting.” For any writer or poet, this can be a very good feeling and a source of motivation to keep writing.
While Jeremy Kam is based in Liberia, the young Liberian poet, Eduardo De Bosco is currently based in Nigeria and he’s an incredible wordsmith with lots of creative energies. Eduardo was born as Edward Boateng. He is a Salesian of Don Bosco, a historian, an activist, and a poet whose love for humanity and the values of society is the chief source of his inspiration as a poet. He has written many poems on social political issues of our time. Through his poems one can see that he’s very ambitious and hungry for success as a poet. Two months ago, he submitted some of his poems to a literary forum which has 7 million visitors and works in collaboration with Gujarat Sahitya Akademi which awarded 350 writers from 80 countries on the occasion of India’s 74th independence. Being one of the awardees among this number from around the world is a literary achievement as well. Gujarat Sahitya Academy was established in 1981 as a government institution dedicated to the development of the languages spoken in Gujarat, India and their literature. Gujarati, an official language of Gujarat, is one of them; the others are Hindi, Sanskrit, Kutchi, Sindhi and Urdu.
Both Eduardo and Jeremy Kam are two young prolific Liberian poets who are always sharing their creative works on social media and as such they are building strong audiences. Now it’s a great stride for them to go beyond social media to submit their works for publications and awards outside of Liberia. Their literary achievements will certainly share some light on the Liberian literary landscape.
Here is a short profile of Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. Kwame Dawes is a Ghanaian-born, award-winning author of twenty-one books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, literary criticism, and essays. He has won Pushcart Prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Emmy, and was the 2013 awardee of the Paul Engel Prize. He currently teaches at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Chris Abani, a Nigerian-born, award-winning poet and novelist, currently teaches at Northwestern University in Chicago. He is the recipient of a PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, a Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond Margins Award, a PEN/Hemingway Award, and a Guggenheim Award.
About the Author: Nvasekie Konneh is a poet, writer and social cultural activist. He’s the Arts and Culture Editor of the Liberian Listener. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Main Photo: Jeremy Karn