An End and a Beginning

Dear OGOV Readers,

When I co-founded One Ghana, One Voice with Julian Adomako-Gyimah, I hardly imagined that eight years later we would still be around. I dreamed, though it felt like a very distant dream, that OGOV would have served its purpose and faded away, replaced by other magazines and organizations.

When I moved to Accra in 2006 I spent a good six months reading newspapers, listening to the radio, scouring Legon bulletin boards, visiting libraries, doing everything in my power to try to find and connect with other poets and poetry lovers. I became determined that if I did finally connect with someone, I would help make sure that new poets and poetry lovers had an easier time than I did. Finally, Julian and I found each other and OGOV was born. Our goal was to connect writers as much as to celebrate their writing (each poet received an author interview, outlining where they lived and what motivated them to write, and was required to provide their email address - you needed to be willing to connect to be on our site!). Soon enough we had poets in Kumasi corresponding with poets in Koforidua corresponding with ex-patriot poets in the US and UK. And not long after, other magazines and organizations followed - Akwantuo, Ghana Book Review, Writers Project of Ghana, and many more.

What a joy this was to behold! It also, admittedly, took the wind out of my sails, so to speak: Ghanaian poetry was (and is) thriving. By OGOV's five-year anniversary in 2012, when Darko Antwi wrote his wonderful summary of OGOV's work for the Poetry Foundation Ghana website, I felt like we'd reached our goals. We'd featured over 70 poets, and watched many of them go on to found new organizations or publish books. Also, now back living in Canada and with far less time available for the magazine, I no longer felt like I was the right person to lead a Ghanaian poetry magazine.

And yet, I couldn't stop. Why? Because of Martin Egblewogbe, because of Aisha Nelson, because of Kofi A. Amoako. Because of "Scarecrow" and "The Pilgrim Looks Up". Because of your overwhelming responses - in quantity, in quality and mostly in heart - to our calls for poems memorialising Kofi Awoonor and John Atta Mills. Because of Prince Mensah and L.S. Mensah's wonderful "How Poems Work" essays. Because of all the poems and comments and tweets that kept appearing in my inbox. In short, because of you.

How could I leave this? All of you?

So I held on longer than I should, through a move to Zambia and another return to Canada, through career changes and new schooling, and the site suffered as a result. We pulled off a few great things in 2014, including Ngwatilo Mawiyoo's interview with Kwani? editor Billy Kahora, but it was clear that OGOV needed a fresh leader, a fresh start.

And there was Prince Mensah - poet, editor, translator extraordinaire. A steadfast supporter of the magazine since its inception, for years Prince has emailed me whenever the magazine's lagged in producing new content for more than a week or two. Looking back, I realised that for the past few years Prince had become not only one of OGOV's greatest contributors and champions, but our new beating heart.

So it's time for that heart to take the lead.

I offered the position of Editor-in-Chief to Prince in February 2015 and he accepted. Already, Prince has produced new, rejuvenated submission guidelines, reopening the magazine to general submissions. He has many other exciting plans in the works, but I will leave it to Prince to reveal those at the appropriate time. Needless to say, I am confident OGOV will thrive during Prince's term, and I encourage you, our readers and writers, to get involved in shaping OGOV's future. New content, marking the start of Prince's editorship, will begin appearing on the site at the beginning of May. Stay tuned!

I will stay involved in the magazine as a Contributing Editor, helping where I can, and eagerly watching to see where we go next. Thank you all for making the past eight years such a blessing and joy. I can't imagine not having so many of you as a part of my community, and my life.

Thank you, especially, to Julian and Prince, and to my wife, Marta, without whose energy, patience and encouragement this site would never have come into existence. I remember one Saturday at Sharpnet Internet Cafe in Osu when Marta and I sat side-by-side for eight hours researching newspapers and websites and sending out press release after press release announcing this crazy new idea: an online magazine devoted to Ghanaian poetry. I remember that very distant dream Julian, Marta and I held. Now Julian is a father of two (the second just arrived last month!) and Marta and I are expecting our first child in August. And our first "baby," this little magazine of ours, is already moving out of the house, heading out on a new adventure. Imagine!

Thank you, thank you, all. And best of luck, Prince, though I know you will not need it.

Yours,

Rob Taylor
Co-Founder and Former Editor-in-Chief, One Ghana, One Voice