Syracuse poet reads verses inspired by Ghanaian heritage at Salt City market



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Although Kofi Antwi is wary of ringing clichés, he believes that poetry has always been in him. When Antwi recounts his childhood, he remembers creating storylines for his toys.

“As a writer, I started to realize that it was great to write abstract and colorful images, but you also have to write in the concrete and discuss the reality,” Antwi said.

Last night, during a small round of press readings at the Salt City Market, Antwi – who has been featured in various literary magazines, including The Good Weather for MEDIA and Rigorous – delivered a selection of his poems to the students, to poetry lovers, friends and family. Colgate University and Syracuse University Libraries hosted the event in partnership with Write Out Syracuse.

With low vibrato and a presence that dominated the piece, Antwi delivered moving extracts from his poems, inspired by his Ghanaian heritage, his upbringing in Brooklyn and Staten Island, his black identity and his hope for change. He’s frank that it might not always be light listening for everyone.


“Some of my poems are uncomfortable; he talks about things that make people uncomfortable. But it’s poetry. It’s poetry at its core, ”Antwi said.

Her childbirth remained strong, despite the gushes of a whiny toddler in the back of the room who would later be revealed as her son.

“Now that my son is gone, I really get along… A rookie mistake that I now know not to make,” he joked in the middle of the poem.

While Antwi exudes confidence and success these days, it hasn’t always been the case for the 33-year-old poet. His years of entering poetry are filled with hesitation and uncertainty. It wasn’t until Antwi joined Open Moments, the Utica College poetry club, that he was inspired by the courage and fearlessness of his fellow poets to translate his voice into this medium.

Growing up in a West African home also didn’t offer the warmest welcome in careers outside of being a doctor, lawyer or engineer, Antwi said. It was a return trip to Ghana two Christmases ago, however, when Antwi reconciled with his identity and role in his poetry.


The reading was organized by a local writers’ collective that organizes community outreach between the League and surrounding school districts.
Kasey O’Rourke | Editor-in-chief

“I love going back to Ghana,” Antwi said. “Every time I return to Ghana, I feel rejuvenated. It gives me the sense of knowing myself.

It was also not until this trip in 2019 that Antwi felt his first book of poems “Tidal Wave” was ready for publication, a book that Jacob Gedetsis – who helped plan the reading at the market – has. praised in his Antwi introduction on Tuesday. evening.

Gedetsis is the co-founder and director of Write Out, the community writing collective that planned the event. Write Out engages college students in community outreach within Syracuse area school systems as well as on the SU campus. He found the location within the downtown Salt City Market to be different from typical campus sites.

“We felt lucky to have Kofi Antwi with us today, and he’s new to the area, so it was a great and warm welcome for a new poet who has made Syracuse his home,” said Gedetsis.

Event participant Lauren Cooper is currently pursuing her doctorate. in English Literature at SU and is also involved in Write Out, which she described as a “community writing collective” that started with after-school writing programs.

“We would go to specific community center sites once a week after school and work with students, like young children, and just write poetry and tell stories, draw pictures,” Cooper said.

After the reading, as he reflected on his journey as a man to bring him to this point of becoming a famous and published poet, Antwi recalled that “it takes a while before we writers , realized that we are where we want to be. “

Antwi is distinguished by the separation of life and writing, although he recognizes that there is an overlap and that his work is a representation of who he is.

“What I believe should be said and articulated even through creative mediums like poetry. And, I think that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? Antwi said.


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