English School Chaucer M
Geoffrey Chaucer
by Geosi Gyasi

My name lives on the front cover of your books:
You died long before the belly of my mother
Intumesced; into the joy of a crying baby
From childhood I was fed with words of breast milk
From the best sweet stories of “The Canterbury Tales”
I grew up with short and long sentences spooned into my mouth
Then exploded into a literary creature filled with the words
Of Geoffrey Chaucer. I fell in love with him and his words
And often saw him in my dreams and visions, reading to me.
My school bag usually contained the House of Fame or
Anelida and Arcite or The Book of the Duchess or Troilus and Criseyde.
One day in school, my English teacher asked if I was
in any way related to him. I stood up ready
to lie but I couldn’t, then a little magical voice whispered into
my ears a seemingly perfect answer: he’s my literary father, I said.

IMAGE: Portrait of Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), artist unknown.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was a child, I found Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in my grandmother’s wardrobe. I took it, read and loved it. Then I began to search for all his books. These childhood memories gave rise to my poem. For most of my schoolmates, pronouncing my name “Geoffrey” was difficult, as they preferred to call me “Jeffrey.” Because of this, I decided to change my name to a  simpler and less common one. This is how I came to be known as Geosi.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Geosi Gyasi is a book blogger, reader, writer, and interviewer. His work has appeared or forthcoming in Visual Verse, Verse-Virtual, Piker Press, Misty Review, Silver Birch PRESS, Linden Avenue, Brittle Paper, and elsewhere. He is a reader for the U.S-based literary magazine, Indianola, and the author of the forthcoming book of interviews (2016) from Lamar University Press Books in Texas, U.S. He is the winner of the 2015 Ake/Air France Prize for Prose. He blogs at geosireads.wordpress.com.

PHOTO: The author in Nigeria, attending the Ake Arts & Book Festival in 2015.