After the Ceremonies: New and Selected Poems

After the Ceremonies: New and Selected Poems

After the Ceremonies: New and Selected Poems

After the Ceremonies: New and Selected Poems


Ama Ata Aidoo is one of the best-known African writers today. Spanning three decades of work, the poems in this collection address themes of colonialism, independence, motherhood, and gender in intimate, personal ways alongside commentary on broader social issues. After the Ceremonies is arranged in three parts: new and uncollected poems, some of which Aidoo calls "misplaced or downright lost"; selections from Aidoo's An Angry Letter in January and Other Poems; and selections from Someone Talking to Sometime.

Although Aidoo is best known for her novels Changes: A Love Story and Our Sister Killjoy, which are widely read in women's literature courses, and her plays The Dilemma of a Ghost and Anowa, which are read and performed all over the world, her prowess as a poet shines in this collection.


Helen Yitah

This gathering of poems by Ama Ata Aidoo is an act of recovery (of many poems that were thought lost) as well as a reaffirmation of the scope, diversity, and importance of her poetic oeuvre. the poems were selected to give as wide a representation as possible of her wide-ranging subject matter, her flexibility in style, and the complexity of her thematic and formal concerns. After the Ceremonies brings together many new and collected poems written over the course of three decades. the new poems comprise her most recent as well as others that she refers to as previously “misplaced or downright lost poems.” the published ones are mainly selections from her two collections, Someone Talking to Sometime (Harare: the College Press, 1985) and An Angry Letter in January (Coventry, Sidney, Aarhus: Dangaroo Press, 1992), as well as others that appeared in anthologies, journals and magazines.

The poems in this collection are arranged in a way that foregrounds historicity and chronology. Part 1 comprises mainly new poems, together with a few previously uncollected ones, all arranged in a prelude and four other sections. the other sections in part 1 are “Fires and Ashes,” “Grieving for the Living,” “The National Corruption Index and Other Poems,” and “Ghana: Where the Bead Speaks.” Parts 2 and 3 consist of selections from Aidoo’s two collections, An Angry Letter in January and Someone Talking to Sometime, respectively. in these two parts, the original arrangement of poems has been maintained.

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