Poet/spoken word artiste, Dzyadzorm talks about her soon to be released EP ‘The Wine Wrote This’, her expectations’ what the future holds for her and place of women in poetry.
I had a hunch you had a project in the works. I, however, didn’t see it coming to fruition this early. How long have you been working on The Wine Wrote This?
I officially started working on the EP a few months ago. There are two poems on there that were written over a year ago but everything else was done last year.
The title of the EP sounds interesting. What’s the story behind the name?
I used wine as a metaphor for openness and honesty. I think you’d agree with me that most of us are in our truest form when inebriated. We tend to become more expressive and direct when communicating. That’s what TWWT is about; allowing my mask to come off and being open and unashamed of my flaws and insecurities while still not neglecting my positive attributes. Themes on the EP include femininity, identity, love/romance etc
Apart from Poetra (Asantewa), who is featured on this EP?
I had the honour of getting the awesome Ria Bossman on one track on TWWT.
Did you deliberately choose the EP title to absolve you of any ‘blame’; say in a blame-it-on-the-wine context?
I never really looked at it from that standpoint, but it’s possible that I did do that subconsciously. It’s possible that on a much deeper level, I’m trying to free myself of any judgment that may arise. I don’t know.
I used wine as a metaphor for openness and honesty. I think you’d agree with me that most of us are in our truest form when inebriated. We tend to become more expressive and direct when communicating.
Writers and poets borrow experiences from various sources when working. How much of your life’s experiences are found on TWWT?
I would say 90% of it is based on personal experiences. These are also experiences that coincide with those of others around me so the EP sometimes can feel like a tribute to several people collectively.
You once tweeted ‘ Thank God for blank pages that permit us to vent ‘. Can you elaborate further?
I often think of poetry as an ever present friend whose sole role is to listen to whatever thoughts burden (or not) you regardless of how idiotic, flawed or inconsequential it may sound and everyone needs a means to vent and not be chastised for it. I think poetry allows that and I’m grateful for it.
You have been performing for years. I first heard you some 4 years ago. How will you describe your growth as an artiste (poet) over these years?
In one word, interesting! My style of performance hasn’t exactly changed but I have learnt to be bolder on stage and I think I’ve become a bit more diverse content-wise. I’m still discovering new techniques and themes to improve the quality of my performance
Do you have any expectations about this EP and what do you intend to achieve by or through it?
One of my favourite spoken word poets, Dominique Cristina, answers this question best. In a session, she said (forgive me, it’s a bit long)
“So for me, the process was, one, beginning to understand that I had something to say. That, two, I had permission to say it. That, three; that permission didn’t come from anybody but me. And that, four, not only was my voice necessary, not only was it urgent, but it was persistent and for always. That I could offer it into a space and not teach you anything necessarily but show up big and in so doing, maybe, it becomes instructive. Maybe, you (audience) recognize that that is also belonging to you. I think that’s powerful”
I share the exact sentiments. My entire journey with poetry has been about the understanding that my voice too is valid and ultimately reaching as many people as I can, hopefully make some sort of difference in their lives.
The poetry space is growing yet there are challenges. What do you consider the major challenge(s) affecting poetry today?
My entire journey with poetry has been about the understanding that my voice too is valid
In 2015 and 2016 respectively, Poetra and Akotowaa released EPs. In a few days, TWWT would be out. How important is it for female poets to take their spots within the poetry sphere?
I think it’s always necessary for women to insert themselves in spaces of influence and the art scene is definitely no exception. In a creative space, that’s dominated by male poets, I do think it’s important for us to bring our talents and varied perspectives to the table in order to lure a more inclusive audience. What we have to offer is not only interesting but transformative as well.
What are your favourites tracks on the EP and why?
Obaa Boni, definitely. Aside tipping my hat to myself several times for it’s dope lyricism, I love the energy it gives out whether it’s being read or performed. I think it’s a powerful piece that speaks to the angst of modern day women and femininity and it’s my proudest piece of writing thus far.
‘I can’t wait to start performing fully and more confidently in my Liberian accent. The hybrid tongue is some way bi’. How does your Liberian heritage influence your work as a poet?
Honestly speaking, I wouldn’t say there’s been much influence in that area. At least, not directly. Individually however, being multinational has had an impact on my character and my view of the world at large. I did write and perform a poem on my version of events during the 1996 civil war. Being Liberian and present at the time simply gave me more insight during that period of unrest.
What or who is your muse? Any reasons?
I don’t have one in particular. There are days when my muse is a thing or a place and others where it’s a person or emotion or event. It’s never been static.
What next for you after the release of EP?
I’ll have more time to focus on Kpodola, a spoken word portal I’ve created to harness the talents of our local acts all in one place. There’s a lot of work in the pipeline so I’m really looking forward to it. Other than that, it’s more poetry, more shows and more growth.
Dzyadzorm is one of the foremost poets in Ghana. She is the curator of Kpodola, a spoken word portal. She has performed on many poetry events in Ghana. Her debut EP ‘The Wine Wrote This’ is set for release soon.
Find her on Twitter/Instagram @dzyadzorm