The Promise of Hope


The Promise of Hope

New and Selected Poems, 1964-2013

Kofi Awoonor
Edited and with an introduction by Kofi Anyidoho
Foreword by Kwame Dawes

African Poetry Book Series

336 pages


March 2014


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2014


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2014


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Kofi Awoonor, one of Ghana’s most accomplished poets, had for almost half a century committed himself to teaching, political engagement, and the literary arts. The one constant that guided and shaped his many occupations and roles in life was poetry. The Promise of Hope is a beautifully edited collection of some of Awoonor’s most arresting work spanning almost fifty years.


Selected and edited by Awoonor’s friend and colleague Kofi Anyidoho, himself a prominent poet and academic in Ghana, The Promise of Hope contains much of Awoonor’s most recent unpublished poetry, along with many of his anthologized and classic poems. This engaging volume serves as a fitting contribution to the inaugural cohort of books in the African Poetry Book Series.


Author Bio

Kofi Awoonor (1935–2013) was a diplomat and a professor of comparative literature at numerous universities, including the University of Ghana. He is the author of several volumes of poetry, including Night of My Blood; Ride Me, Memory; The House by the Sea; and The Latin American and Caribbean Notebook. His collected poems (through 1985) were published in Until the Morning After. Kofi Anyidoho, a poet and scholar, serves on editorial boards for several journals and has been a guest editor of Matatu, a journal of African culture and society that is published in Amsterdam.


"Valuable for its vivid attempts to make new, locally rooted forms."—Publishers Weekly

“A celebration of the work of one of our important world poets for readers both inside and outside Africa.”—From the foreword by Kwame Dawes


“We pay homage to Kofi Awoonor as a poet not only with a profound vision and articulation of the world, our world, but also with a gift of words that is at home in poetry, in prose, in critical literary studies, and equally in major essays about our African, our human condition.”—From the introduction by Kofi Anyidoho

Table of Contents

Foreword by Kwame Dawes
In Retrospect: An Introduction by Kofi Anyidoho
From Herding the Lost Lamb (2013)
The Light Is On
The New Boy on the Block
Across a New Dawn
Songs of Abuse
To Feed Our People
To the Ancient Poets
Counting the Years
Once More
On the Gallows Once
What Brought Me Here?
What More Can I Give?
Those Gone Ahead
Up in the Garden
Xiansi, Pou Tou Dalla
I'll Raise a New Song
From Latin American & Caribbean Notebook (1992)
In Memoriam
Of Home and Sea I Already Sang
Of Home Once More
Rio de Janeiro: Fearful and Lovely City
Distant Home Country
Agra: January 21, 1989
Cuban Chapters
The Hero's Blood
Of Faith and Fortitude
The Orient Express
Havana, Cuba: The Free Territory of the Americas
A Caress
For Tenu and Afetsi: A Hymn
Of Niggerhood
A Death Foretold
The Prophecy from Iran
In Memoriam: Return to Kingston
Lover's Song
The Red Bright Book of History
At a Time Like This
Back with Sandino
The Ancient Twine
Seatime, Another
Readings and Musings
Light Hours in Verse
Time Revisited
A Thin Echo of Time's Voice
"As Long As There Are Tears and Suffering, So Long Our Work Will Not Be Over,” Jawaharlal Nehru"
The Girl that Died In Havana
Our Pride Alone
New Rain
Birds on an Autumn Wire
Shamla Hills: Bhopal
Shamla Hills: Sanchi Temples
From Until the Morning After (1987)
Life's Tears
So the World Changes
Life's Winds
Grains and Tears
Had Death not Had Me in Tears
Act of Faith
I Rejoice
The Picture
For Ezeki
From The House by the Sea (1978)
Part One: Before the Journey
Poems, Fall '73
The Land Endures
Going Somehow
For Pablo Neruda
Requiem for Pablo
After the Exile and the Feasts
Some Talk of Lunar Virgins
Departure and Prospect
When Going into Jail
Of Absence
For Henoga Vinoko Akpalu
An American Poem
Another Lover's Song
Part Two: Homecoming . . . Poems from Prison
The Second Circle: Beginning Midnight, 5 January 1976
On Being Told of Torture
The First Circle
Dream of Home
To Sika on Her 11th Birthday
Revolution: A Chat with Ho Chi Minh’s Ghost
Found Poem
Another Found Poem
The Place
Personal Note
Sea Time, Meaning a Pledge
The Will to Die
A Little Word
The Wayfarer Comes Homes
From Ride Me, Memory (1973)
Harlem on a Winter Night
Long Island Sketches
To My Uncle Jonathan: A Song of Abuse
To Felicity, a Girl I Met in L.A.
Hymns of Praise, Celebration, and Prayer
Etchings from My Mind
My Father's Prayer
My Uncle the Diviner—Chieftain
To Sika
To Those Gone Ahead
From Night of My Blood (1971)
I Heard a Bird Cry
Night of My Blood
Stop The Death-Cry
A Dirge
More Messages
At the Gates
The Dance
Do Not Handle It
All Men My Brothers
Lament of the Silent Sisters
Hymn To My Dumb Earth
They Do Not Sound for Me
From Rediscovery and other Poems (1964)
My God of Songs Was Ill
The Sea Eats the Land at Home
The Cathedral
What Song Shall We Sing
We Have Found a New Land
The Anvil and the Hammer
The Weaver Bird
The Purification
The Gone Locusts
Songs of Sorrow
From This Earth, My Brother: An Allegorical Tale of Africa (1971)
The Making of the New Nation (Chapter 2a)
From Comes the Voyager at Last: A Tale of Return to Africa (1992)
Festival of Oneness
An Epilogue by Kofi Awoonor
Source Acknowledgments

Also of Interest