What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Ama Codjoe, and I live in the Bronx, New York, but I think the ‘where are you from’ question is a little complicated. I think it gives me a moment to honor the fact that my dad is from West Africa, in Ghana, and my mom was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, in the southern United States. Those are two of the lineages that make me up.
What is the project you’re working on at SPACE?
I am writing poems that are going towards a collection: my first book.
Where have you been spending most of your time at SPACE?
I’ve been everywhere. I really have. I haven’t found my little spot, so it changes every day. But I will say that I like the yurt a lot.
What’s coming up next with your project?
A book! It’ll be my first full-length book. And most poetry doesn’t work that way where you have a contract, so I have to make it first before figuring out where it’s going to live. But I’m giving myself the next school year to just write.
What farm animal would you be and why?
What would I be? Not the horses, because of the flies! I don’t think the cows either, but I like them both probably the best. Hmm… goodness gracious, what else is there? A caterpillar! I like it — or better yet, a butterfly. I’ll take it.
You were writing about the horse, right?
I was, yes. It’s very me to have been impacted by this 30-second interaction watching the horses and the flies. It was very disturbing to me for some reason, seeing the flies on the horse.
When you’re writing for a book, or just in general, do you try to work from a theme, or do you think of an image and write about it?
So that poem is a good example of how something is just given — when you see something and you’re like ‘I know I’m going to write about that’ and then it comes pretty easily. I think the way that I’m trying to approach writing for this book is one poem at a time. And the book can be anything. I’m not predetermining it. I don’t know yet what it is.
Interview by Meerabelle Jesuthasan.