About

Welcome to my online collection of poems and essays. My name is Viola Allo. I write for Cameroon. I write for Africa. I write for Bamenda, my hometown. I write for Cameroonians, at home and abroad. I warmly join hands with all those who celebrate the beauty of African places and people.

I am a Cameroonian by birth, born and raised in Cameroon. I lived and studied in Cameroon until the age of 19. My father is Cameroonian. My mother is American. I suppose that makes me a…Cameroonian American.

I am a social scientist by training. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in anthropology. I also have an academic background in African Studies, a field I developed a passion for as an undergraduate student at the University of California, Davis and nurtured as a graduate student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

I am a poet by choice. After being a student nonstop for a total of 23 years (most of my childhood and adult life), I left the academic world and became a free person, liberated to think for myself. (Ah, Sweet Freedom!) Poems were the first things that wandered into and claimed my thoughts. This all happened in the summer of 2007. Since then, I have long forgotten what it’s like to be free.

Well, the truth is, in my youth, I loved writing. I still have my very first portfolio of poems crafted during my teens. But it never occurred to me that one could be a poet, that one could grow up to “be a poet” and live life as a poet. I did not take my writing seriously for a long time because of this misconception. Today, I am a poet–and happily so.

I am the proud author of a gorgeous chapbook of poems, BIRD FROM AFRICA, published in April 2015 by the African Poetry Book Fund and Akashic Books, New York. My chapbook is part of this incredible collection: Eight New-Generation Africa Poets (edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani).

I love writing. Reading. And more. I love to draw and paint. I love books. I love yoga. I am a caregiver. I am a certified yoga instructor and Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor. I am a librarian-in-training at the San Jose State University School of Information. I love things that are quiet and meditative. I think all of this means I am an artist. At heart.

Responses

  1. it is so interesting to read from you after years, 25 years exactly. since kumba. just continue wih your writings and give hope to many.

    • Dearest Aunty, Thank you for stopping by my blog. It is so wonderful to read from you. I saw you in Kumba in 2004, if you recall, and it was great to see you and Uncle. I hope the kids are doing great and please say hello to them for me. My first book comes out in April next year and I will reserve a copy for you. With best regards, Viola

  2. Hello Viola, I am most delighted to have come across your blog some days back. Young and aspiring poets like me find it daring when we read your poems. You’re a truly amazing poet, your metaphors and language always leave me wondering if my poems can make an impact like yours. I recently submitted my poems to BUAPP, and it scares me when I read the poems of the shortlisted poets for 2014, well, I am still hopeful, although this is my first submission ever for a poetry competition, and I would rather say, ‘my self booster therapy’ Thank you for inspiring me. With love, Ruth.

    • Hi Ruth, Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing your story with me. I am rooting for you and look forward to seeing your poems on the Brunel shortlist next year. But do not worry if you don’t get shortlisted. I have been writing for many years, and I firmly believe that, prize or shortlist or not, I will keep writing and believing in my work. I love poetry beyond measure. And I am happy to see you filled with the same love for words. Words are powerful allies and friends. I hope more people, all over this planet, will put down their weapons and pick up words and artistic endeavors. Art can heal the world. Art can heal Mother Africa. And it already does. Wishing you the best in your journey with poetry and may you always inspire others to join the beautiful African literary arts, Viola.

  3. Thank you Viola…

  4. Hi,

    I’m Tokoni, A student and poet (the poem and picture above is from my blog). Its nice to meet you. I’d like to invite you to my blog, http://www.insanitybeautiful.wordpress.com if you’re interested. Thanks!

  5. Hello my darling VIOLA! I am delighted to meet you for the first time. I am proud of an inspiring fellow Cameroonian like you. Thank you for remaining hooked to your roots and speaking proudly of that. You are an example. I just read your post on the powerful woman who met the powerful man.The first thing that caught my attention was the quality of the piece: very well written. I wish to congratulate you and to pray that your light may continue to shine brighter and brighter everyday.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so glad you found my website and read my short piece. Your thoughts and feedback inspire me. Thank you! I will forge ahead and never waver from my literary path. I wish you much joy on your journey with writing, as well. May your writing also bring hope to those around you and inspire positive change in the world. Thank you for stopping by my website and sharing your words of encouragement. Wishing you lots of blessings and I am sending warm greetings to my homeland, Bamenda, Cameroon. 🙂

      • Your response has brought joy to my heart. Thanks for making the day brighter for me. Bamenda will definitely be very proud of you when she comes to know you more. Let your light keep shining!

  6. […] Viola Allo […]

    • Thank you for this great recap by Trina Young. It was a wonderful event sponsored by the Poetry Society of America and the Poetry Foundation. ❤

  7. Good to meet you Viola. I too write poetry at mine so you are welcome to visit. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and saying hello. I look forward to visiting your page and reading your poems. Keep writing and sharing your words with the world. ❤

      • You are most welcome Viola. I am so glad that I bumped into your blog. I am truly inspired by your voice. Yes. let’s keep writing and sharing. 🙂

  8. […] Chagall-ian layer of both modernism and ethnic nostalgia to this box set, to which Peter Akinlabi, Viola Allo, Inua Ellams, Janet Kofi-Tsekpo, Liyou Mesfin Libsekal, Amy Lukau, Vuyelwa Maluleke, and Blessing […]

  9. I greet you in the Light and the Love of the Creator, you beautiful Soul 🙂 May you receive oceans of inspiration, guidance, blessings and protection from the One.


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