Sunday, July 19, 2015

Carpe Diem Special #157, Adjei Agyei Baah, our featured haiku poet, on Afriku (an article of the Poetry Foundation Ghana)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I love to thank Jen of Blog It Or Lose It for helping me out this weekend. I have enjoyed the spare time a lot and I am proud that Jen has created three wonderful posts this weekend ... Thank You Jen ... from the bottom of my heart ... for stepping in ...

It's my pleasure to bring a new CD Special by our featured haiku poet Adjei Aygei Baah from Ghana. He is co-founder of the Poetry Foundation Ghana and writes for their e-magazine "Kwaku Ananse". In this CD Special I love to share an article he wrote on "Afriku", haiku from Africa. Followed by a few haiku composed by him for our Haiku Kai.

The Making of African Haiku (Afriku)

It’s a new dawn…a new day as Africa provides a voice in haiku by introducing a new haiku art dubbed Afriku that comes with much freshness and delight.Call it a subtle revolution or an awakening which seeks to rally all African poets around the globe to give this Japanese art a formal attention as a new way of telling the African story.
What is Afriku? Afriku is a coinage, a merger of the two words “Africa” and “haiku” that captures the beautiful elements/moments in the African settings. This article is not meant to explain the aesthetics of haiku nor to revisit its crossroad of disagreement but rather meant to sensitize the world about Basho’s bug which has caught up with the continent. It is perhaps a high time to patent and popularize the new terminology “Afriku” before, as is always the case with our troubled continent, other nationalistic offshoots spring up and jostle for lexical recognition with Ghaiku/Ghaku/Ghanaku from Ghana, Keiku from Nairobi, Saiku from J'burg, Naiku from Nigeria etc. etc.
Being the first born of this marriage, Afriku shall hereby be the polygamous father, while Ghaikus, Saikus, Naikus and the rest, if they accept his dowry, shall be mothers of the African Haiku and shall extend to embrace all other ‘sibling’ terminologies. "In fact, Africa has been quite late coming to the world of haiku, and then mainly through Japanese (and other) diplomats rather than through its indigenous poets” Jim Kacian once said.
There might be myriad of factors to account for this, but in any case, it is heartwarming to see the haiku winds blowing over the face of our continent and hearing the voices of local poets emerging in with their own novel form and style.

Dear reader, you are free to share your thoughts as a commentary, suggestions and criticisms or any other means possible. Basho the grandmaster himself might have foreseen the spread and modification of the haiku art when he once said: “Many of my followers can write hokku (another term for haiku) as well as I can. Where I show who I really am is in linking haikai verses.”

(Source: Kwaku Ananse)

As I was following a few of the links Adjei gave me when we came in contact with each other I ran into a wonderful haiga by him. I love to share that haiga here, just to "break" the long text of this episode. Adjei wrote the haiku and the drawing is by s'pray. (Source)

Credits: haiga "dry Savannah"

Adjei emailed me the following haiku for the prompts: weeping willow (Time Glass), shika no ko (fawn) and the "full circle challenge".

Weeping Willow (Time Glass):

no sign of tears
to prove your name
weeping willow
wearing us back
into the sands where we belong
hour glass

© Adjei Agyei Baah, Kumasi Ghana

Shika no ko (Fawn):

a walk for my soul
this fawn she carries stars
upon her back

© Adjei Agyei Baah
Adjei asked me to look at it with him, he had a few little changes and together we came to this
above "final" version. Adjei's "fawn"-haiku came from the following original:

a walk for my soul
this fawn the carries stars
upon its back

© Adjei Agyei Baah

He composed two other haiku on "fawn":

how needless
to cage the fawn, that wear
a skin of stars

in search for my star
the shimmering spots
of a fawn

© Adjei Agyei Baah

Adjei Agyei Baah, Kumasi Ghana
To close this Carpe Diem Special I have Adjei's response on our last Tokubetsudesu episode "full circle". He has given it his own interpretation. I love how he has created his "full circle" haiku series:


in search
for heaven’s door-
a rainbow

an unseen
doorway to heaven-


every star on its pathway
moving dragon cloud


fountain side
the laughter of kids encircle
a peeing cupid


finding shade
in our camel’s hump
desert heat

Jazz café

jazz night
the thin line between
sax and sex

Duke Ellington

by maidens of daises
duke on castle rock

Ancient Road

ancient road…
the trails of the masters
absorbed in fallen leaves


uphill rock
drawing the sun unto itself
the red head lizard

© Adjei Agyei-Baah, Ghana

Adjei is really a gifted haiku poet and I am honored that I could introduce him here at our Haiku Kai. He is one of the first haiku poets from Africa and he has already become famous around the globe, as you could have read in his second CD Special.

I hope this CD Special will inspire you to write "afriku" or an all new haiku or tanka in the same spirit as the poems by Adjei.

I hadn't enough inspiration, so I reproduce an "oldie" inspired on "ancient road":

seeking the path
walking the 'Narrow Road'
in deep silence

© Chèvrefeuille

This CD Special is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 22nd at noon (CET). I hope to publish our next episode, seika (midsummer), later on. For now .. have fun, be inspired and share your haiku or tanka with us all here at our Haiku Kai.


  1. Truly interesting post, and a pleasure to read. I would like to also thank Jen very much, who gave it all this weekend,

    1. It was a great honor to help Chevrefeuille --
      thank you for the kind words :)

  2. Chevrefeuille -- this is another wonderful post! I really enjoyed Adjei's haiku -- especially his responses to "fawn" which are exquisite.

    I'm very honored to have been able to help this weekend -- and thank you for your encouragement. :)

  3. Once again so much beauty from two splendid poets. I must agree with Jen on the fawn haiku!