Kwame Opoku-Duku is the author of The Unbnd Verses (Glass Poetry Press, 2018). His work is featured or forthcoming in BOMB, the Virginia Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, the Massachusetts Review, Bettering American Poetry, Booth, BOAAT, and other publications. Kwame lives in New York City, where he is a teaching artist, and along with Karisma Price, he is a founding member of the Unbnd Collective.
Here’s Quick Temper with Kwame –
Why do you write?
I write because I want to get rich quick!
Who do you hope reads your work?
I am so grateful for anyone who reads my poems, but if a young person of color reads them and feels seen in some way, then I’ll truly feel like I’ve done my work.
Where does the anger in your work come from? How does it manifest?
The anger in my work comes from being a witness to the same injustices repeated and lived through over and over, in being forced to carry the inherited trauma of our ancestors, and in knowing we’ll be passing it down to generations to come. When you hear stories about how bad things used to be, and then you look around and you see there is still so much ugliness in the world, at some point you stop believing all the promises. You’re forced to admit that, whether you like it or not, this is your reality, that your body has been historically marked. This reality lies at the heart of much of my work, and I try to explore how it moves through space and time.
Angry book recommendations for angry readers?
I’ve read so much brilliant work in this last year: the Black Girl Magic anthology, Terrance Hayes’ American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar, Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez, There There by Tommy Orange, Bestiary by Donika Kelly, A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley, Beast Meridian by Vanessa Angélica Villareal, and What Is Not Beautiful by Adeeba Shahid Talukder are just a few of them! I’m also really excited for Malcom Tariq’s, Ilya Kaminsky’s, Noor Ibn Najam’s, and Logan February’s collections, which will all be out next year! There are so many brilliant voices out in the world! That’s one thing to not be mad at 🙂