Series Update: African Poetry Book Series

Under the helm of series editor Kwame Dawes, the African Poetry Book Series seeks to discover and highlight works of African poetry with a wide-ranging scope; from classic works to modern and contemporary voices. The greatest challenge facing African poetry in English is a lack of access to both classic works and the stream of works from new African writers. Currently there is no press in the United States, or elsewhere, that devotes itself entirely to the publication of African poetry written in English. This series looks to rectify this gap and also collect works of classic African poetry that have otherwise been forgotten.

Sacrament of Bodies is a groundbreaking collection of poems in which author Romeo Oriogun fearlessly interrogates how a queer man in Nigeria can heal in a society where everything is designed to prevent such restoration. With honesty, precision, tenderness of detail, and a light touch Oriogun explores grief and how the body finds survival through migration.

Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry, ‘Gbenga Adeoba’s collection Exodus focuses on forms of migration due to the slave trade, war, natural disasters, and economic opportunities. Using the sea as a source of language and metaphor, Adeoba explores themes of memory, transition, and the intersections between the historic and the imagined. With great tenderness and power his poetry of empathy searches for meaning in sharply constructed images, creating scenes of making and unmaking while he investigates experiences of exile and displacement across time and place.

Named after the poet’s mother, ‘mamaseko is a collection of introspective lyrics and other poems dealing with the intersections of blood relationships and related identities. A South African healer, facilitator, and writer, Thabile Makue questions what it means to be beings of blood—to relate by blood, to live by blood. In her poems Makue looks for traces of shared trauma and pain and asserts that wounds of the blood are healed by the same.

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