“Back to Kukurantumi” is a collection of Poems written by Ghanaian-American author Akosua Nyantakyi. In this book she explored her dual identity, and writes about her life experiences, both at an early age and as an adult. Eager to know more about the book, we got in touch with her and asked a few questions:
*What inspired you to write poems?
I never considered myself to be good at poetry. I enjoyed reading it, but I wasn’t great at writing it. I was always a good writer, but I loved writing essays and editing essays more than anything. So once I got to college, I got the chance to take a poetry course, during the second semester of freshman year. Needless to say I fell in love, and decided I would major in English with a concentration on poetry.
*How long was the writing process for all poems combined?
“Back To Kukurantumi” actually started as my Senior Comprehensive Project in undergrad, which was back in 2014-2015. It took me three years to complete this book.
*Is it your first book? Others to come?
It is my first book, and I have two other one I am writing, and will be working on in the future. Right now I’m focusing on creating Academic lesson plans for teachers and homeschooled kids.
*Your poems touch a lot of personal subjects, including grow up in the US as a Ghanaian-American teenager. Why was it important for you to share this ?
It was important for me to share my experience as a Ghanaian-American because I know it’s something a lot of people could relate to. Especially those who have a hyphenated-identify like I do. There is a point in your adolescence and maybe even adulthood where it feels like your not really (in my case), Ghanaian enough, and you toggle with your life at home with your Ghanaian parents vs. how you are outside the walls of your home.
*Tell us about the meaning of the title?
The tittle signifies how writing these poems sent me back to Kukurantumi where I was born but not raised. There are things I work through within myself starting from the beginning, and work my way forward to who I am today. Which in the end, wherever I am, places me in Ghana and America always.
*What is special about Lenox Ave, 7Ave & W134st ?
I was raised in Harlem, and I am very proud to be from there. So I rep it loud and proud as New Yorkers do. The cover represents where I was born with the Ghanaian Flag and where I was raised in Harlem. Sharing one pole and one space within myself.
*Can you explain the reasoning behind the 3 parts of the book?
The three parts of the book was really to move the three themes that were working throughout the book flow smoothly. There was identity, love/self love, and death. I wanted to have those sections prepare the reader for the type of poems coming up.
Video: “Back to Kukurantumi” a collection of Poems by Akosua Nyantakyi