Q: What genres do you write? Which one most attracts you when you sit down to write?
A:Poetry comes to me naturally. It is what attracts me most. Any time I attempt to write anything, I start with poetic lines. I, however, attempted some short stories (which I did not consider good enough and have been hiding in some folders on my laptop.)
Q: What is the first piece you remember writing? Tell me about the circumstances. How old were you if you recall, why did you decide to write? Did it change anything for you?
A: The first piece I wrote was Mia Denyigba (Our Motherland). The poem was entirely in my mother tongue, Ewe. When I was in Junior High School in Mafi Kumase Comboni Roman Catholic School, I was selected to represent the school in a poetry performance contest as part of the annual cultural week celebration. Someone was supposed to write a poem for me to memorize and perform but the person delayed in doing that task so I decided to write my own poem for the contest. The person, however, brought the poem and my teachers thought his piece was better. Mine was discarded. This poem was my first attempt and my teachers applauded me for the initiative. I won that poetry contest both at the circuit and district levels. I was 13 years old. This feat gave me the realization that I could write. I subsequently wrote some poems in Ewe but stopped writing until I got to Sogakope Senior High School.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge for you as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it? If so, how? If not, what do you need to overcome it?
A: The biggest challenge I faced as a writer was being rejected by the publishers I approached to publish my manuscripts. Many of them rejected the manuscripts outright without even going through to evaluate the quality of the works. Their reason simply was that my name is not well known in the writing circles so marketing my work would be difficult and that poetry does not sell. I resolved to ‘market’ my writing through my blog www.edordzi.blogspot.com and to contribute to anthologies both in Ghana and internationally. I have been successful in publishing in some anthologies and I have got a few followers on my blog. Whenever I am in Ghana, I read my works on radio and perform at various public spaces. I have won some awards too. I hope these can market my works enough to enable publishers accept my manuscripts.
Q: Do you write from the same physical space? If so, describe it. If not, what are your ideal surroundings for writing?
A: I write from different physical spaces depending on the stimuli around me. My ideal surrounding is quiet lonely greenery with calm classical or Ewe traditional music (preferably borborbor or agbadza). I could substitute a well-ventilated and quiet room for the former.
Edzordzi Agbozo’s works appeared in the Intercontinental Anthology of Poetry on Universal Peace (2014), Prairie Schooner (2014), Glass Warriors, (2012), among others. He also performed poetry at the state funeral of the late President J. E. Atta Mills of Ghana (2012). Find him on Twitter. Watch out for part 2 of our Q&A.