Poetry Depot

February 28, 2011

Poetry and Arab Revolution

Filed under: Africa, Arabic, Tunisia, Tunisian — Tags: , , , , — razvan @ 1:25 am

The Will of Life

by Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi

If the people will to live
Providence is destined to favourably respond
And night is destined to fold
And the chains are certain to be broken

And he who has not embraced the love of life
Will evaporate in its atmosphere and disappear

Translated by As’ad Abu Khalil.

فلا بــدّ أن يستجيب القــــدر             إذا الشعب يوماً أراد الحيـــــــاة
ولا بـــدّ للقيـــد أن ينكســــر                ولا بدّ للــــيل أن ينجلــــــــــي
تبـــخّر في جــوّهـا واندثــــر                 ومن لم يُعانــقه شوق الحيــاة

image and poem from HERE

John Lundberg wrote for huffingtonpost.com

The words of a Tunisian poet helped spark revolution in his native country, then spread to help fuel the revolution in Egypt, and continue to inspire protests flaring up throughout the Middle East. Abu Al-Qasim Al-Shabi’s poem “Will to Live,” written when Tunisia was struggling under French colonialism in the early 20th Century, captured the emotions of Tunisian protesters in their most recent struggle for democracy, and proved a powerful, unifying cry for freedom. “Will to Live” includes the following lines, which are memorized by school children throughout the Arab world (translated, of course): (more…)

December 10, 2010

Wole Soyinka, contemporary poetry from Nigeria

Filed under: Africa, Nigeria — Tags: , , , — razvan @ 10:48 am

He is called “Nigeria’s warrior poet”. In 1986 The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to him, “who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence”. (Nobel prize web)
In 1999 emerges new tome of his poems entitled Outsiders. His newest play released in 2001 has a title “King Baabu” and is another strong, political satire on African dictatorship. In 2002 a collection of his poems Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known is printed by Methuen. And in 2004 utters WS: A Life is Full, an illustrated biography of Wole Soyinka by Bankole Olayebi, with more than 600 photographs since 1934.
The latest release of WS is a memoir called “You Must Set Forth at Dawn”, published in April 2006 by Random House. ( from Wole Soyinka blog)

In The Small Hours

Blue diaphane, tobacco smoke Serpentine on wet film and wood glaze, Mutes chrome, wreathes velvet drapes, Dims the cave of mirrors. Ghost fingers Comb seaweed hair, stroke acquamarine veins Of marooned mariners, captives Of Circe's sultry notes. The barman Dispenses igneous potions ? Somnabulist, the band plays on.

Cocktail mixer, silvery fish
Dances for limpet clients.
Applause is steeped in lassitude,
Tangled in webs of lovers' whispers
And artful eyelash of the androgynous.
The hovering notes caress the night
Mellowed deep indigo? still they play.
Departures linger. Absences do not
Deplete the tavern. They hang over the haze
As exhalations from receded shores. Soon,
Night repossesses the silence, but till dawn
The notes hold sway, smoky
Epiphanies, possessive of the hours.
This music's plaint forgives, redeems
The deafness of the world. Night turns
Homewards, sheathed in notes of solace, pleats
The broken silence of the heart.
from Famous Poets

Also, you can check this CNN interview with Soyinka (more…)

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