Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Sans titre

Enlarge poem

je titille le silence sur les grèves de la mémoire
un ange par-dessus mon épaule
épie mon cahier suave
et
les mots se cachent dans les plis des pages
de peur que je ne secoue les draps
par la fenêtre blanche
et s’envolent d’un coup d’aile
les secrets d’alcôve
ma langue mouillée chatouillant le nadir de la feuille
où se meurt en silence ma semence
vieille d’un instant

No title

I tickle the silence on memory strands
An angel above my shoulders
Peaks at my silky book
and
Words hide in the page’s folds

Fearing that I might shake out the sheets
By the white window sash
An emirates secrets might fly away

In a single wing beat

My moisten tongue delighting the nadir of the leaf
Where my semen is dying in silence
Suddenly old

Abdourahman Waberi

Featured Poem:

Esquisse / Trêve

Enlarge poem

Esquisse

je suis celui qui dit : « je ne suis jamais seul »
je parle avec mes croquis, j’ombre les espaces
et j’invente des historiettes
comme celle de cette famille qui pose
gauchement
dans un studio de photographie

Sketch One

I am the one who intones: « I am never alone »

I chat with my drafts, shade in spaces
Invent little tales
Like the one of that family whose pose is

Awkward
Caught by the studio camera’s lens

Trêve

je sème ma voix aux quatre coins de la ville
l’eau y dessine le temps
je mêle mon corps aux effluves remontant de la nuit
j’y noie mon désarroi je cherche dans tes yeux nos querelles d’antan
les clans défaits tissent la toile de leur discorde j
e demande aux plantes grasses de me rendre ma tendre mémoire

indécise tu écoutes les bruissements
de ma brisure
tu remets à demain
l’approche de la nuit

Truce

I scatter my voice all over of the town
There water outlines time

I mingle my body with the fragrances rising from night

There I drown my distress

I search in your eyes from our quarrels from long ago
Defeated clans weaving the canvas of strife

I ask the succulent plants to return my tender memory

Unsure you listen to the wear
Of my cracks

Postponed till tomorrow
The night’s approach

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (2)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (1)

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Biography

Abdourahman Waberi is a prize-winning writer from Djibouti whose work has been translated into a multitude of languages. These poems come from his collection of poetry entitled Les Nomades, mes frères, vont boire à la grande ourse (The Nomads, My Brothers, Will Drink from the Big Dipper), his only collection of poetry. Muslim by birth, Waberi’s themes include the nomadic life, colonial and postcolonial hardships, exile, Jewish writers, the Arabic language, and Djibouti’s harsh climate. Most importantly, these poems, like his novels, short stories, and essays, carry the important message of tolerance. He is an Assistant Professor of Francophone Literature at the George Washington University.

Translations by:
Nancy Naomi Carlson is a winner of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland Arts Council, and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She is the author of three poetry collections, as well as the critically acclaimed Stone Lyre: Poems of René Char. Her translations and non-translated work have appeared in such journals as Agni, The Iowa Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and Western Humanities Review, and are forthcoming in The Georgia Review. She is an associate editor for Tupelo Press.

Abdourahman Waberi

Biography

Abdourahman Waberi is a prize-winning writer from Djibouti whose work has been translated into a multitude of languages. These poems come from his collection of poetry entitled Les Nomades, mes frères, vont boire à la grande ourse (The Nomads, My Brothers, Will Drink from the Big Dipper), his only collection of poetry. Muslim by birth, Waberi’s themes include the nomadic life, colonial and postcolonial hardships, exile, Jewish writers, the Arabic language, and Djibouti’s harsh climate. Most importantly, these poems, like his novels, short stories, and essays, carry the important message of tolerance. He is an Assistant Professor of Francophone Literature at the George Washington University.

Translations by:
Nancy Naomi Carlson is a winner of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland Arts Council, and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She is the author of three poetry collections, as well as the critically acclaimed Stone Lyre: Poems of René Char. Her translations and non-translated work have appeared in such journals as Agni, The Iowa Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and Western Humanities Review, and are forthcoming in The Georgia Review. She is an associate editor for Tupelo Press.

Sans titre

Enlarge poem

je titille le silence sur les grèves de la mémoire
un ange par-dessus mon épaule
épie mon cahier suave
et
les mots se cachent dans les plis des pages
de peur que je ne secoue les draps
par la fenêtre blanche
et s’envolent d’un coup d’aile
les secrets d’alcôve
ma langue mouillée chatouillant le nadir de la feuille
où se meurt en silence ma semence
vieille d’un instant

No title

I tickle the silence on memory strands
An angel above my shoulders
Peaks at my silky book
and
Words hide in the page’s folds

Fearing that I might shake out the sheets
By the white window sash
An emirates secrets might fly away

In a single wing beat

My moisten tongue delighting the nadir of the leaf
Where my semen is dying in silence
Suddenly old

Featured Poem:

Esquisse / Trêve

Enlarge poem

Esquisse

je suis celui qui dit : « je ne suis jamais seul »
je parle avec mes croquis, j’ombre les espaces
et j’invente des historiettes
comme celle de cette famille qui pose
gauchement
dans un studio de photographie

Sketch One

I am the one who intones: « I am never alone »

I chat with my drafts, shade in spaces
Invent little tales
Like the one of that family whose pose is

Awkward
Caught by the studio camera’s lens

Trêve

je sème ma voix aux quatre coins de la ville
l’eau y dessine le temps
je mêle mon corps aux effluves remontant de la nuit
j’y noie mon désarroi je cherche dans tes yeux nos querelles d’antan
les clans défaits tissent la toile de leur discorde j
e demande aux plantes grasses de me rendre ma tendre mémoire

indécise tu écoutes les bruissements
de ma brisure
tu remets à demain
l’approche de la nuit

Truce

I scatter my voice all over of the town
There water outlines time

I mingle my body with the fragrances rising from night

There I drown my distress

I search in your eyes from our quarrels from long ago
Defeated clans weaving the canvas of strife

I ask the succulent plants to return my tender memory

Unsure you listen to the wear
Of my cracks

Postponed till tomorrow
The night’s approach

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (2)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (1)

Sans titre

Enlarge poem

je titille le silence sur les grèves de la mémoire
un ange par-dessus mon épaule
épie mon cahier suave
et
les mots se cachent dans les plis des pages
de peur que je ne secoue les draps
par la fenêtre blanche
et s’envolent d’un coup d’aile
les secrets d’alcôve
ma langue mouillée chatouillant le nadir de la feuille
où se meurt en silence ma semence
vieille d’un instant

No title

I tickle the silence on memory strands
An angel above my shoulders
Peaks at my silky book
and
Words hide in the page’s folds

Fearing that I might shake out the sheets
By the white window sash
An emirates secrets might fly away

In a single wing beat

My moisten tongue delighting the nadir of the leaf
Where my semen is dying in silence
Suddenly old

Comments

Your email address will not be published.