English PEN Award Winner.
Ribka Sibhatu is one of the foremost poets of the Eritrean diaspora and a prominent activist for refugee rights. The present selection captures the scale and range of her achievements to date, from recent poems of direct political intervention, through her decade-long effort to record the oral folklore and myths of Tigrinya tradition, back to her earliest taboo-breaking lyric poems. Sibhatu has devoted a considerable amount of her creative energies to the assemblage and recording of Eritrea’s folkloric canon, a body of oral literature which has been handed down through the ages in the form of ‘aulòs’, which literally means ‘Please give me permission! I have something to say publicly in rhyme!’. Naffis-Sahely has worked closely with Sibhatu for over 10 years, making translations of her poems and fables to bringing them to the attention of English speaking audiences. His dedication to making her voice heard has resulted in this new publication, which includes an afterword by Sasha Dugdale.
The Poetry Translation Centre’s World Poet Series showcases the most exciting living poets from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, in beautiful pocket-sized bilingual editions.
This publication was supported by funding from the EU's Creative Europe Culture Programme.
"Naffis-Sahely’s translation captures the poet’s intricate weaving of multiple worlds – fable and grounded reality, elegiac and absurd, spiritualised emotion and reportage. Through [Sibhatu's] poetry she allows us to step into her unique gaze as an artist and activist in self-exile..."
- Devina Shah, Modern Poetry in Translation
Size: 178 x 111mm, 66 pages
Languages: Tigrinya, Amharic, Italian, English