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Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Anvil And The Hammer By Kofi Awoonor

Caught between the anvil and the hammer in the forging house of a new life,
Transforming the pangs that delivered me into the joy of new songs
The trapping of the past, tender and tenuous
Woven with fibre of sisal and
Washed in the blood of the goat in the fetish but
Are laced with the flimsy glories of paved streets
The jargon of a new dialectic comes with the
Charisma of the perpetual search on the outlaws hill.
Sew the old days for us, our fathers,
That we can wear them under our new garment,
After we have washed ourselves in
The whirlpool of the many river's estuary
We hear their songs and rumors everyday
Determined to ignore these we use snatches from their tunes
Make ourselves new flags and anthems
While we lift high the banner of the land
And listen to the reverberation of our songs
In the splash and moan of the sea.
The poet takes the reader to the shop of a blacksmith in order to give a clear picture of the images of confused state of situation to the poet and other things found and brought themselves into. The poet uses two important local instruments to shoe case this - the Anvil, which is an iron block on which a blacksmith put hot pieces of metal before shaping with hammer; is also tool with handle and a heavy metal head used for breaking things. Literarily, the poet see himself as "hot piece of metal" placed on an anvil to be shaped by hammer. The poet plans to undergo panel beating to get to a "new life" a kind of transformation. He wanted to transform from a new way of life because the old one is not pleasing enough but it seems he wanted the two together. The poet ends up feeling sad and unfulfilled.

Themes In "The Anvil And The Hammer" By Kofi Awoonor

  • Unfulfilled expectation
  • New and Old concept
  • The quest for a change.
Poetic Devices In "The Anvil and The Hammer" By Kofi Awoonor
The diction of the poet is both simple and complex. The complexity is more pronounced in the area of meanings and concepts presented by the poet - the Anvil and the Hammer and his in between the two tools. The languages of charge transformation and unhappiness illumination were used vividly in the poem.

  1. Symbols: "The Anvil and the Hammer", "Flags and Anthem".
  2. Alliteration: "the pangs that" Tender and tenuous while we...
  3. Oxymoron: "flimsy glories..."
  4. Onomatopoeia: "whirlpool"
About the poet KOFI AWOONOR
Kofi Awoonor (formerly George Awoonor-Williams) was born in Wheta, Ghana to Ewe parents. His grandmother was a dirge-singer, and much of his early work is modeled on this type of Ewe oral poetry. According to critic Derek Wright, the poetry. "both drew on a personal family heirloom and opened up a channel into a broader African heritage". In Rediscovery (1964) and Petal of Blood (1971), Awoonor uses the common dirge motif of the "thwarted or painful return" to describe the experience of the Western educated African looking back at his indigenous culture. His most famous poem from the first collection is "the Weaverbird". In it he uses the Weaver bird, a notorious colonizer who destroys it host tree, as a metaphor for Western imperialism in Africa. He describes the bird's droppings as defiling the sacred places and homesteads. He also blames the Africans for indulging the creature. 

Awoonor has written two novels. The first, This Earth, My brother....(1971) is an experimental novel which he describes as a "prose poem". In it, Awoonor tells a story on two levels, each representing a distinct reality. The first level is a standard narrative which details a day in the life an attorney named Amamu. 

Awoonor was closely tied to the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. Shortly after Nkrumah was driven out by coup in 1966, Awoonor went into exile. During the time he was abroad, he completed his graduate and doctorate studies, recieving a Ph.D. In literature from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1972. His dissertation was later published as "The breast of the Earth" (1975). He returned to Ghana in 1975. Soon thereafter, he was detained for his alleged involvement with an Ewe coup plot. The House by the Sea (1978), a book of poetry, recounts his jail time. 

Awoonor has not written much lately, instead he is spending his time in Ghanaian political activities. Unfortunately, this emphasis seems to have diminished the quality in addition to the quantity of his literary output. His recent works has been compared unfavorably to his r en early material. Derek Wright calls his most recent novel, Comes the Voyager at Last (1992) about an African-American's journey to Ghana, "flat and tired." He died in the Westgate shopping mall attack in Kenya in September 2013.

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