Me, that is. I feel so bleedin ignorant!
I’ve just finished reviewing two beautiful books for Modern Poetry in Translation: Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Love Poetry, edited by Frank M. Chipasula, and The Other Half of History: An Anthology of Francophone African Women’s Poetry, edited and translated by Georgina Collins.
I had a secondary education in the 1980s that acted like Africa didn’t exist, like slavery and colonialism never happened (this was a school that acted as though feminism never happened, either) and I’ve been trying to make up for it and fill in the gaps ever since. And these two books – themselves filling in gaps left by previous anthologies of African writing – have introduced me to a whole range of amazing poets, past and present, who write in a diversity of traditions, languages, aesthetics. It makes me realise I have so much still to read and learn.
What’s really great is that I get to keep the books, so I can. I’ll end this post with an image I was particularly struck by. It comes from an Ancient Egyptian love song, ‘My Love is Back, Let Me Shout Out the News!’:
And heart, pirouettes in its dark chamber / glad as a fish when night shades the pool.
(trans. John L. Foster, Bending the Bow, p. 15)