Laing Kojo Ghanaian Poet And Novelist English Literature Essay Free Essay

Laing, Kojo Ghanaian poet and novelist the eldest boy and 4th of six kids of George Ekyem Ferguson Laing, an Anglican priest, who became the first African curate of the Anglican Theological College in the Ashanti part, and Darling Egan was born in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti part in 1946, He was named Bernard Ebenezer but dropped his Christian name for literary intents

He grew up and was educated in Ghana and so in Scotland. His early instruction started in Accra, where his male parent was provost of the Holy Trinity Cathedral from 1952 until his decease in 1962. The educated in-between category household, representing the Gold Coast elite of the clip, was non affluent by either local or foreign criterions. As a kid Laing sold adust bites on the streets in Accra, an experience he disliked at the clip but which informs his composing about the metropolis.

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After five old ages at the Bishop ‘s Boys ‘ School in Accra, the eleven-year-old Laing was sent in 1957 to Scotland, where he was put in the attention of a clerical friend and associate of his male parent ‘s, Richard Holloway, subsequently bishop of Edinburgh.

He spent two old ages in Bonhill Primary School, followed by five old ages at the Vale of Leven Academy, both in the little town of Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, where he lived at first with Holloway ‘s parents. From 1962 he lived with Holloway in Glasgow. Holloway ‘s eruditeness and circle of societal militants and spiritual minds, made a considerable feeling on him. Laing as a consequence received differentiations in English and history at secondary school and with Holloway ‘s encouragement began to compose poesy

Laing entered Glasgow University in 1964. He chose his topics to acquire him suited to come in the Ghana Foreign Service. In secondary school he had been an enthusiastic reader of the modern English classics and William Shakespeare. At university he discovered the Gallic moderns, particularly Rimbaud and Baudelaire ; existential philosophy ; and the new African poesy so going widely available particularly through the anthology Modern Poetry from Africa, published by Penguin in 1963. His involvement in existential philosophy and African poesy mounted with his finding to be a poet. However, he considered formal literary survey unfriendly to this career as he has claimed non to hold enjoyed university life.

From his earliest childhood Laing was sensitive to the sensuous nature of his milieus and developed a great love of forest, garden, and sea ; of the metropolis, which he thought of as another signifier of nature ; and subsequently of the Scottish hills and lochs. Laing therefore fell in love with the hills, stray watercourse, pines, mist amongst other tempting facets of the natural environment. Though he was non a Christian poet in the usual sense, Christianity, high Anglican rite and symbolism, and the fact that his august male parent who died comparatively early was a priest and a author on theological topics influenced the development of his art and idea.

While a pupil in Glasgow in 1967 and 1968, Laing published verse forms in assorted Scots poesy magazines. Some of this early work won the BBC ‘s University Notebook Award for Poetry in 1967. Through “ Funeral in Accra, ” a verse form he wrote in 1965 to mark his male parent ‘s decease, he shook off the suppressing influences of the European writers of his schoolboy reading and began to utilize a poetic linguistic communication that, while following the norms of standard English in grammar and sentence structure and even vocabulary, was uncompromisingly his ain and besides distinctively African in image and parlance.

At the age of 19, against the wants of household and friends, Laing married Josephine Forbes ( nee Connelly ) , a Scots societal worker who already had a girl. Two of the twosome ‘s six kids were born before they moved to Ghana in 1968. This may good hold been partially a reaction to the decease of his male parent in 1962 and his sadness with his place at the university and in Scots society, where he felt oppressed by racism.

He completed his surveies deriving a Masterss in political scientific discipline and history in 1968 and returned place in 1969.

He wrote poesy throughout much of the 1970 ‘s. His linguistically advanced poesy has appeared in anthologies such as, Border Lines and Uncommon Wealth, and in a aggregation, Godhorse, which appeared in 1989. He wrote a trilogy of long verse forms: Jaw, Resurrection and Christcrowd which deal largely with the feeling of disaffection ensuing from civilization daze which many immature Africans, experience at many degrees in Europe.

After returning place Laing joined the Ghana Civil Service in 1969 and worked for the following decennary as territory administrative officer in assorted towns in the Ashanti part, broken merely by four months spent at the University of Birmingham for a preparation class in rural disposal in 1975. This reinforced his love of nature, non simply as an perceiver but as an active participant. His favourite interest during this period and since, runing provides a beginning of imagination for his poesy.

Laing worked for a twelvemonth in Accra. Then from 1980 to 1985 he served as secretary to the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. Thereafter he has been main executive of a private school in Accra his female parent founded.

R.D. Laing.s has been greatly influenced by the existential philosopher phenomenology of the Scots head-shrinker of the same name R.D. Laing who has besides been a major beginning of thoughts for his poesy. . Laing describes his poetic medium as ‘verbal pyrotechnics ‘ . A dramatic characteristic of it is his usage of initial rhyme and sound reverberations making luxuriant interplays of sound that are closely related to the significance of the line. He indulges in the technique of a verse form in individual capitalized words every other line inserted within another verse form or the same five lines are placed in a different order in each of its first three stanzas.

Laing attacks linguistic communication inventively. He pushes English to its bounds and beyond by blending Oxbridge with West African Pidgin, elements from African linguistic communications, and his ain coinings, taking at making one mammoth life and genuinely widely distributed linguistic communication.

Recuring subjects in his work include the clang between western engineering and heritage, corruptness of Ghanese society and authoritiess, and the interior convulsion qualifying altering from traditionality to an emerging societal order. His manner affecting his usage of tonss of dumbly jammed physical imagination and allusions, frequently referred to as charming pragmatism, is basically African, frequently really specifically Ghanese, in beginnings. It, nevertheless, is non entirely a merchandise of cultural patriotism though it frequently contains elements of animism. It does non mime the structural forms of either autochthonal Ghanese linguistic communications or local nonstandard assortments of English.

Laing foremost emerged as an of import poet in the seventiess. But he was non widely known until after his first novel got published in 1986. Belonging to the coevals of Ghanese authors instantly following Ayi Kwei Armah and Kofi Awoonor, he gained prominence during the 1980s as one of the most fecund original and inventive authors in West Africa. Though he has written more poesy than prose he is more celebrated for the three novels he wrote in the 1980 ‘s intermixing the existent and the occult in an international scene. His novels now are Search Sweet Country, Women of the Aeroplanes, Major Gentl, the Achimota Wars and Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters.

His plants have sustained the argument on the value of Colonial-European-derived functionary linguistic communications as media for African literary look.

Further Reading:

Beyond Empire and Nation. Postnational Arguments in the Fiction of Nuruddin Farah and B. Kojo Laing. Ngaboh-Smart, Francis Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2004, XXI, 168 pp. Beyond imperium and state: postnational statements in the fiction of Nuruddin Farah and B. Kojo Laing by Francis Ngaboh-Smart

Kojo Laing Biography. Book Rags. 11 Apr. 2006 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

“ Kojo Laing. ” University of Massachusettes. 11 Apr. 2006

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Interview with Kojo LaingA Adewale Maja-Pearce DOI: 10.1080/02690058708574150 Published in: Wasafiri, Volume 3, Issue 6 & A ; 7 Spring 1987, pages 27 – 29

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Arthur Edgar E. Smith

Senior Lecturer,

Department of Language Studies

Fourah Bay College,

University of Sierra Leone

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