War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: African Books Collective
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In the reprise that concludes this book, I write that when I was translating the poems in the anthology, Who Needs a Story? Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre and Arabic, upon which this book is based, I did not feel ‘like an author writing a book in Private’ but instead...
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To discuss the entire contemporary poetry of most if not all countries requires more than a book, and Eritrea is no exception. This book covers selected poems by Eritrean poets of roughly the last three decades and who write in three of Eritrea’s nine languages....
Chapter One. The Story on Who Needs a Story
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Eritrean poetry was with very few exceptions unheard of in the modern world of letters until poems by contemporary Eritrean poets began appearing in the first decade of the twenty-first century in distinguished literary journals like Exquisite Corpse; Left Curve; Drunken Boat; Words Without Borders; Two...
Chapter Two. War
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The Tigrinya poems in Who Needs a Story that focus unrelentingly on war are Fessahazion’s Michael’s ‘Naqra’ and Solomon Drar’s ‘Who Said Merhawi Is Dead?’ In Tigre, Mussa Mohammed Adem, more than any Eritrean poet in any language in the anthology, focuses on war to the exclusion of all else. In...
Chapter Three. War and Peace
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Most Eritrean poets, to recall Ghebremeskel’s ‘A Candle for the Darkness’, allow more light – be it a merely candle’ or even ‘[c]andles and more candles’ – and greater prospects for peace, albeit fleeting, into their poetry than Solomon Drar, Mussa Mohammed Adem, Mohammed Osman Kajerai and Fessahazion Michael. The war and its aftermath remain constant but, however...
Chapter Four. Peace
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Saba Kidane, Beyene Hailemariam, Reesom Haile and Ghirmai Yohannes in Tigrinya, Mohammed Said Osman in Tigre, and Abdul Hakim Mahmoud El-Sheikh in Arabic write as if either Eritrea’s armed struggle for independence might never have happened, could be forgotten or, more plausibly, as if it need not affect everything in their lives and determine in large part how they react....
Chapter Five. Reesom Haile, geTamay
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I first encountered Reesom Haile in Asmara in 1998, one evening during Eritrea’s annual, outdoor, 8-day cultural festival in Asmara: a highly popular event, thronged with people from Asmara and from throughout Eritrea, and featuring all of the arts – agricultural, domestic, industrial, language, performing, technological, and visual. Taking place in the extensive fairgrounds...
Reprise: Non-Native Speaker
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Appendix: A Selection of Poems from Who Needs a Story? Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre and Arabic
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About the Author
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Page Count: 178
Publication Year: 2009