War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry
War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry focuses on Eritrean written poetry from roughly the last three decades of the twentieth century. The poems appear in the anthology Who Needs a Story? Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre and Arabic from which a selection is offered here in their original scripts of Ge’ez or Arabic, and in English translation. Who Needs a Story? is the first anthology of contemporary poetry from Eritrea ever published, and War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry is the first book on the subject. Therefore, the groundbreaking effort of the former warrants a discussion of its means of cultural production. All of the poets in Who Needs a Story? participated in the Eritrean struggle for independence (1961-91) as freedom fighters and/or as supporters in the Eritrean diaspora. Thus, contemporary Eritrean poetry divides itself between experiences of war and peace, although one can contain the other as well. War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry also includes an extended analysis of one of Eritrea’s most famous contemporary poets Reesom Haile, as an example of the kind of extended analysis that many of the poets of Who Needs a Story? should stimulate and, last but not least, a meditation on how the author, a non-native speaker, personally becomes involved in Eritrean poetry translation.
About the author
Charles Cantalupo is Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature and African Studies at Penn State University. He is the co-editor of Who Needs a Story? Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre and Arabic (Hdri Publishers, 2006). Read an interview with Charles in the online journal Per Contra where he talks about his experiences with translating Eritrean poetry here, and a discussion on “On the Many Beginnings of African Literature” with the Eritrean news source shaebia.com here.
This book is internationally distributed by African Books Collective