In The Way We Hold On, Abena writes, “This life can be a poem if you let it.” Ode to the Unpraised is a demonstration of those words. It is an invitation to readers to see their own lives as treasure troves based on real people with whom they rub shoulders in present time. It is a reminder to revel in the noteworthiness of those among them and a call to see the fortitude of their own lived and explored lives.
Insightful and experimental, Ode to the Unpraised explores the practical knowledge, life lessons, and personal essence of women in Canada and Ghana through conversation, prose, and poems. Those featured are located in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Ghana. This book was born out of Abena’s curiosity about her late grandmother’s humble yet textured life as a wife, homemaker, and respected community member.
After a missed opportunity to gather her grandmother’s personal reflections, Abena extended her reach to elders, peers, and other relatives to collect their experiences. She discovered captivating figures, expressed through first-person reflection, second-person narration, and poetry in parallel. Ode to the Unpraised is a rewarding concoction of multigenerational missteps, wisdom, and pleasures. It includes a Ghanaian returnee’s lament about the plastic waste on Accra’s streets, a mother’s conviction to preserve local languages, and a farmer’s humble collaboration with both heaven and earth.