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Adjei Agyei-Baah

Adjei Agyei-Baah

June 29, 1977 - December 18, 2023

Adjei Agyei-Baah (born Eric Adjei Baah, June 29, 1977, Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana; died December 18, 2023), lecturer, translator, editor, and haiku poet. He was a Ph.D. candidate in English at the Division of Education, University of Waikato, New Zealand, and was scheduled to receive his degree in December 2023. He was the co-founder of Africa Haiku Network, the Poetry Foundation Ghana, and The Mamba, Africa’s first haiku journal. Agyei-Baah’s work won recognition in the Japan–Russia Haiku Contest in 2014, received The Heron’s Nest Award (best haiku of issue) in 2016, was shortlisted for the World Haiku Club’s R. H. Blyth Award in 2019, and anthologized in Kala Ramesh’s Naad Anunaad: An Anthology of Contemporary World Haiku (2016). His debut haiku collection, Afriku (2016), was commended by Nigerian Nobel Prize–winner Wole Soyinka. His fourth book, Piece of My Fart (2018) was the first senryu collection from Africa.
Adjei was the inventor and champion of Afriku – an avant-garde haiku type that focuses on Africa's unique images and setting. He was a widely anthologized poet both at home and abroad. His works have appeared in renowned journals, and literary websites such as The Heron’s Nest, Shamrock, Frogpond, World Haiku Review, Cattails, A Hundred Gourds, Brass Bell Haiku Journal, Asahi Haikuist Network, Yay Words, Indian Haiku Kukai, Mainichi Daily, Akita Haiku International Haiku Network, Presence, European Kukai Kai, Africa Haiku Network, Wild Plum, Boston Poetry Magazines, Poetry Space-UK, Poetry Foundation Ghana, The Kalahari Review, etc. He was a member of Haiku Northwest, United States, and United Haiku and Tanka Association (UHTS), United States. He was a trailblazer in the practice of haiku on the African continent. His influence was far-reaching, as he mentored many current haiku writers in Africa. He leaves behind a significant legacy.

deserted shore
the wind sharpens its voice
over a conch

Cattails September 2015.


Adjei's unexpected passing in the prime of his life is a great loss to the global haiku community.

Awards and Other Honors:

Winner of Akita Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Award, 3rd Japan-Russia Haiku Contest, (2014); “Night Reading”- First Runner Up, India Haiku Kukai (September 2015); “Lonely”- David McMurray’s favorite haiku, 4th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest (2015); “deserted shore” Editor’s choice, Cattails, September Edition (2015); “An old fighter jet”, Zatsuei, Haiku of Merit World Haiku Review (December 2011); “Bamboo grove”, Honorable Mention, Vanguard Haiku, World Haiku Review (August 2012); “Burial ground” - Honorable Mention, Vanguard Haiku, World Haiku Review (December 2012); “Fallen leaves”- Honorable Mention, Vanguard Haiku, World Haiku Review (December 2012); “Wedding Day”, Zatsuei, Haiku of Merit, World Haiku Review (August, 2012);“Disputed Land” - Zatsuei, Haiku of Merit, World Haiku Review (January, 2014); First Haiku from Africa to be recorded into song by Naviar Records (August, 2015); “Castle Cannon”-Vanguard, Honorable Mention, World Haiku Review (January, 2014); “For The Mountain” - a poem selected by BBC to represent Ghana in a poetry postcard project at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held at Glasgow, Scotland; “Ashanti” – poetry portrait written and presented to the King of Ashanti @ Akwasidae in Manhyia Palace (2008); “In the Grey Hair of Soyinka” – a poem written and presented as portrait to Wole Soyinka on his 81st Birthday (2015); “One Man’s Calling Calls Another", A paper presented in honor of Kofi Awoonor at “Kofi Awoonor and the Challenge of History, 2014” at Yiri Lodge, University of Ghana; “The Haiku Poetry Champion, 2015” -The Newaccra Achievers List (2015); 3rd Place Winner, TV3 Ghana Mothers’ Day Poetry Contest, dubbed “Mother With A Purpose 2008” with the poem “Mother is Supreme”; Guest poet at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (August, 2015); Panel Judge at Ghana Poetry Prize Contest (2013).

Books Published:

Afriku (Red Moon Press 2016; Piece of My Fart – Senryu poems (Mamba Africa Press 2017; Ghana_21_Haiku (Mamba Africa Press 2018); Trio of Windows with Ikuyo Yoshimura and Maki Starfield published in English and Japanese by Japan Universal posts Association (JUNPA) 2018; Finding the Other Door (Mamba Africa Press 2021); Mamelon a Mamelon [nipple to nipple] (Editions Unicité 2021); High Fashion (Buttonhook Press 2022) with photographs of Jerome Berglund; Scaring Crow (Buttonhook Press 2022); Fury of My Fart: Senryu Poems (independently published in April 2023); Tales of the Kite (Buttonhook Press 2023).

Selected Work
 
neighborhood flood
opening my door
to a paper boat
 
mangled vehicle
a dragonfly
takes the wheel
 
 
 
dawn rumble
the moon rolling
on a train
 
where the sun
has gone into hiding
river reeds
 
 
 
barn roof holes . . .
racing mice plug
and unplug sunrays
 
desert sunset
a sidewinder's curves
across the dunes
 
 
 
first-time kayaking
a dragonfly appears
to lead the way
 
warm boulder
what does the dragonfly
make of river sound
 
 
 
ripened field―
an old scarecrow invites
birds to party
 
distant horizon
a dragon cloud watches
over the mountains
 
 

Credits:

“neighborhood flood” - Frogpond vol. 42.3, Autumn 2019; “mangled vehicle” - Presence, issue #64, 2019; “dawn rumble” – cattails, October 2020; “where the sun” - The Haiku Hecameron Ed. Scott Mason, Girasole Press, 2020; “barn roof holes” - cattails October 2021; “desert sunset” - The Heron's Nest Vol. XXIII, No. 3: Sept. 2021; “warm boulder” - Modern Haiku vol. 53:3 Autumn 2022; “first-time kayaking” - Under the Basho 2022; “ripened field” - Per Diem - Haiku of the Day, Troutswirl, The Haiku Foundation. Sept. 28, 2023; “distant horizon” - haikuNetra 1.4, December 2023.

Additional Reading:

Akita International Haiku Network World Haiku Series 2022 (1) Haiku by Adjei Agyei-Baah (Ghana) ;
The Haiku Foundation Digital Library. Haiku by Adjei Agyei-Baah on Christina Chin's blog

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