Textiles: a word that is thought as thread, text re-sculpted to texture. I love it when things are embedded in things and words carry multiple meanings. This week I started research for my second book of poetry and I am already overwhelmed with my discoveries. I started with the Kente cloth. I’d already written a poem related to the cloth in my manuscript “ A Hemmed Remnant” but I felt I hadn’t looked close enough at how the patterns in the Kente spoke stories. My father’s name is Emad, عماد meaning pillar, support in Arabic. My mother often jokingly referred to family members acting like my father as “Emmada”. Today I learned of a Kente cloth called the Emmada which means “what we have not heard or seen before”. With over 300 Kente designs, each Kente’s name is associated with proverbs and stories which also determine the pattern and yarn. The Kente patterns have multiple meanings and I can’t help but think of writing poems that mimic the Kente practice.
The Kente names are not just randomly created. No, they are given by weavers who obtain them through dreams or contemplative moments with the spiritual world. My father was born in Ghana to Lebanese parents and to a long history with manufacturing textiles. I suppose it is perfect that his name would coincidentally echo a symbol of Ghana.