The Well


Like many of Euphrase Kezilahabi's poems, 'The Well' is concerned with the difficulties faced by writers in the face of a declining interest in literature - although the poem seems to end on an optimistic note. The giant mentioned in the first stanza is a popular figure in Swahili myth called Fumo Liyongo who, as the poem recounts, dies a lonely, heroic death with his dignity intact.

Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator

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Meg Arenberg

This translation sounds lovely, but I do not think it is accurate. I disagree with the translators interpretation of the poem. I do not read it as laudatory of Fumo Liongo at all—quite the opposite, I think Kezilahabi laments the hold of poetic tradition on modern creativity and applauds the hero’s killer for figuratively opening a door to a new generation of poets unrestrained by this tradition.

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