Lost in a Quatrain
a select collection of soul stirring poetry with each poem telling a story that pieces together the puzzle of this crazy, not always romantic, experience we call life
Adiela Akoo, a recipient of the prestigious Dux Award, is a South African poet, author, and all round creative, with a background in banking and comprehensive healing.
She has served in various positions including as Provincial Coordinator for an International holistic healing association. But her passion has always been towards her creative side. She attributes the inculcation of her love for the written word to her mother, who encouraged her at an early age.
Her poems and essays first appeared in print in the quarterly literary journal, The Moving Finger. She has since been published in a variety of magazines, journals and anthologies across the world, including Fidelities, Different Horizons, Sincerely Yours, Emotional Journey's', Renaissance, Sufi, Nature 2018-2019, Grey Thoughts, 25 Years of Freedom, Tales for Love, Best of Africa, Universul Culturii, Best Emerging Poets of 2019, The Penmen Review, Songs of Peace, Our Poetry Archive, I Wish I'd Said Vol 3, International Literary and Art Review (ILA Magazine), and others.
She won the Poetry in my Mind August 2019 Poem Contest with her poem "As You Perceive", which was subsequently translated into Bangla and Turkish by fellow poets. "Redolent" was a runner up in a contest by Rui M Publishing. "Pre Natal" was nominated Poem of the Day on the popular poetry site PoemHunter and "A Scent on a Breeze" was picked up for publishing by Nightingale & Sparrow. "VIRUS" won the Poetry in my Mind April 2020 Poem Contest.
She was honoured to have her poem "Whiplash", from her book Lost in a Quatrain, quoted in The South African House of Parliament.
Adiela is also a recipient of The Silver Star Award from the Global Literary Society for excellent contribution to world literature.
Lost in a Quatrain is her soul stirring debut collection with each poem telling a story that pieces together the puzzle of this crazy, not always romantic, experience we call life...
Adiela Akoo, the Backstory...
Adiela Akoo was born on the 4th of May in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, to her creative artisan parents, a hairdresser mother and a cobbler father.
Her love for reading and writing stems from her mother, who encouraged her at an early age. Besides weekly trips to the local book exchange, her mother cut pictures from old magazines and stuck them in an exercise book, as prompts, and had her write about them daily. Her parents divorced when she was still very young and this was her mother's way, as a single mum, of keeping her daughter occupied while she was away at work.
Adiela's lifelong dream was to be a doctor, to heal people, perhaps due to the many occasions and long periods that her mother spent in hospital, during which time she was placed in the care of her maternal grandparents and aunts. She worked very hard and excelled at school, topping not just her class but the entire standard, year after year, thus winning the prestigious Dux Award, and going on to be accepted at one of the top universities in the country, the University of Cape Town (UCT).
As a full time student, she took on weekend jobs as a cashier to help pay for books, transport, meals, etc, but it was not enough and when she saw the strain that her mother was under to keep up with the exorbitant fees, she walked across campus to the admin offices one morning and promptly cancelled her registration.
She went on to work for a bank and was given a double promotion in the first six months after scoring 94% on an exam. By her third year, and four different branches across the country later, she was headed for senior officer level, a position, she was told, that generally took 20 years to reach. By this time, however, her family had arranged her marriage and her husband preferred that she stay home and not work. She reluctantly conceded. But with the onset of her husband's persistent bouts of ill health at the time, she was soon studying various modes of comprehensive healing therapies, which led to her being appointed as the Provincial Coordinator for an international muscular-skeletal healing association, after scoring the highest (96%) on an internationally judged external exam and being one of the first six people to qualify as a practitioner in the province. She held this position, which allowed her to volunteer her services from home, for five years, while also assisting her husband with admin work and raising three precious children.
Adiela continued to write whenever she could during this time, but never considered it anything more than a hobby and a means of catharsis, until she met one of her former English teachers at a reunion, who posed the question: 'Why aren't you writing? YOU should be writing!". When she responded that she had in fact been writing, her teacher asked again: 'Then why aren't you publishing?!"
That was the initial catalyst, but she didn't pay too much heed until life, yet again, threw several bricks at her in quick succession, threatening and shaking every foundation she held dear, until she was practically cornered into publishing Lost in a Quatrain - a select collection of soul stirring poetry, written over an 18 year period, with each poem telling a story that pieces together the puzzle of this crazy, not always romantic, experience we call life...
Adiela has now been published in a variety of journals, anthologies and magazines across the world. She was honoured to have her poem "Whiplash" quoted in The South African House of Parliament. She is also a recipient of The Silver Star Award from the Global Literary Society for excellent contribution to world literature. She has participated in public readings of her work and was also the exclusive guest of veteran South African journalist and author, the late Farook Khan, on his popular local radio talk show, "90 Minutes with Farook Khan", which combined an interview with poetry reading from her debut book. She was a guest of honour at the opening address of the MSA of the University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus, where she had the pleasure of interacting with promising young poets. She was a judge at the Zee TV Miss India South Africa International Pageant, and a guest speaker at The Alan Paton Literary Festival
Adiela believes that the best thing about being a writer is having the capacity to touch the heart of another being with your words. So it brings her immense joy when readers respond to Lost in a Quatrain by saying,
"I love this book, it touched my heart',
"This helped my soul heal",
"This book made me smile... and cry",
"I felt as if you were writing about me",
'This is soul food"
But mostly, she is deeply grateful to still be able to fulfill her childhood passion to heal people, albeit through her writing...
Adiela resides in Pietermaritzburg with her three children and husband, a medical doctor currently attached to one of the three major government hospitals in the city, in the front line of this covid war.
Curtain of night
pinned with stars
crickets serenading a dancing breeze
Water wafting wilfully
on slime-smoothed stones
singing songs of appease
A lilting song
picking pirouetting petals
from fragrant frangipani trees
quietly redolent of the Highest Call
Enamoured Soul on its knees!
I remember how anxious you were
to be free
of the placenta
kicking and pushing
trying to expand your world
and always when I settled down for a rest
as if urging me
to get up and rock you
with the motions of my daily routine
you loved your father even then
lulled by the sound of his voice
you'd grow quiet
as he ever so gently
stroked my bulging tummy and you
then we'd both drift off to sleep
I rode the train to work today,
my first day on the job.
Friends offered to kindly show me,
a quick way to get to town.
"Nie man! Kom hier!"
they said, grabbing me by the wrist.
"You can't go there!"
they said, pointing to a sign that read:
"Whites Only / Slegs Blankes"!
So they pulled me away, from the pristine
to the broken down
I rode the church to work today,
the Pastor dancing up and down the isle.
The congregation packed liked sardines,
on torn seats, others holding fast
from falling out open doors,
while we clickety clacked along...
The people smiled and applauded,
as his words whistled through missing teeth.
But more than that, he made us forget,
the degradation of our skin!
Cape Town 1990
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