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An Anthology of Somali Poetry

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"This is a fascinating and unusual collection that deserves attention." --Bloomsbury Review ..". this anthology of poetry is a breath of fresh air. It provides the reader with the means of gaining a deeper insight into Somali life through what is to the Somalis their most important cultural form, namely, poetry." --Bulletin of the School of Irental & African Studies "This af "This is a fascinating and unusual collection that deserves attention." --Bloomsbury Review ..". this anthology of poetry is a breath of fresh air. It provides the reader with the means of gaining a deeper insight into Somali life through what is to the Somalis their most important cultural form, namely, poetry." --Bulletin of the School of Irental & African Studies "This affordable and beautifully produced book is a small jewel in the field of Somali studies, as it is the fruit of over forty years of dedicated linguistic and literary scholarship by one of the most thorough and accurate translators and analysts of Somali poetry, B. W. Andrzejewski." --International Journal of African Historical Studies Somalia has been called "a nation of poets." This volume makes available in beautiful English translation the very best, and most universal, of Somali poetry, from the 19th century to the present. With appendixes covering the oral and written medium, the pronunciation of Somali words, alliteration and scansion, selected bibliography, and sources.


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"This is a fascinating and unusual collection that deserves attention." --Bloomsbury Review ..". this anthology of poetry is a breath of fresh air. It provides the reader with the means of gaining a deeper insight into Somali life through what is to the Somalis their most important cultural form, namely, poetry." --Bulletin of the School of Irental & African Studies "This af "This is a fascinating and unusual collection that deserves attention." --Bloomsbury Review ..". this anthology of poetry is a breath of fresh air. It provides the reader with the means of gaining a deeper insight into Somali life through what is to the Somalis their most important cultural form, namely, poetry." --Bulletin of the School of Irental & African Studies "This affordable and beautifully produced book is a small jewel in the field of Somali studies, as it is the fruit of over forty years of dedicated linguistic and literary scholarship by one of the most thorough and accurate translators and analysts of Somali poetry, B. W. Andrzejewski." --International Journal of African Historical Studies Somalia has been called "a nation of poets." This volume makes available in beautiful English translation the very best, and most universal, of Somali poetry, from the 19th century to the present. With appendixes covering the oral and written medium, the pronunciation of Somali words, alliteration and scansion, selected bibliography, and sources.

30 review for An Anthology of Somali Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    I read for a lot of reasons, but sometimes it is for the sake of a field trip, because I can't afford to go all the places and meet all the people I'd like to. I liked this book because of the sensory detail that is inherent in poetry--I can taste sour milk, feel the unbearable sun, and I'm right there with them. Occasionally these poets get too...too male, I guess, and too predictable with their beautiful women and fine camels and glorious battles. But there are moments when I feel very close I read for a lot of reasons, but sometimes it is for the sake of a field trip, because I can't afford to go all the places and meet all the people I'd like to. I liked this book because of the sensory detail that is inherent in poetry--I can taste sour milk, feel the unbearable sun, and I'm right there with them. Occasionally these poets get too...too male, I guess, and too predictable with their beautiful women and fine camels and glorious battles. But there are moments when I feel very close to the poet who writes, "No longer do men who are bound together by ties of birth Feel for each other the compassion and sympathy of old And between two brothers born from one mother's womb Loyalty no longer holds. O Everlasting God, what will come next? This must be the last era of the world! (Ismaaciil Mire, 1860-1951) Every generation thinks it can't get any worse. Iscmaaciil Mire is probably my favorite poet here, even outshining the famous lovelorn Cilmi Bowndheri. And while I laughed like crazy at his soulful address to a motor vehicle ("Listen, O Truck, you who are almost ready to depart..."), I ended feeling touched by the message to his dying nephew. As with all oral traditions that have been written down, this is not the way these poems were meant to be experienced. It's a translation. Some of the beauty of the language is gone, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it and wonder about it. It's sort of like finding a piece of clothing in a secondhand store that would fit you perfectly, except that it was worn for so long by somebody else.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sidney Gaskell

    A very interesting collection, however some of the poems towards the beginning were quite boring in terms of their content (mostly about camel rustling and horses). I am sure these are great in their original language but for me the translated versions weren't too interesting. Towards the end of the book though, which is loosely chronological the poems begin to get more interesting. The work of Cilmi Bowndheri I enjoyed, it mostly revolved around his love for a woman named Hodon who was engaged A very interesting collection, however some of the poems towards the beginning were quite boring in terms of their content (mostly about camel rustling and horses). I am sure these are great in their original language but for me the translated versions weren't too interesting. Towards the end of the book though, which is loosely chronological the poems begin to get more interesting. The work of Cilmi Bowndheri I enjoyed, it mostly revolved around his love for a woman named Hodon who was engaged to another man. The poem'In Praise of Weris' (p.67)by Cumar Xuseen 'Ostreeliya' was also good, and about a woman, I particularly like this quote: " A man who has gazed on her for even one hour/ Will need no other joy until he enters paradise". Possibly the best poem in the book is 'The Serpent'(p.79) by Muuse xaaji Ismaacil Galaal, (it is actually an extract from a collection of traditional stories). In which a man seeks the help of a snake to predict the future for a sultan, the message of the story seems to be that people can only act in the context of their surroundings, and as such people should be forgiven for their wrongdoings. Seems quite nice.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nooreaga

    This is one of the best anthologies on Somali poetry available in the English language and Andrzejewski is well known to Somalis as Goosh, he is seen as a friendly voice within Somali studies. The only negative is that the book does not have the original Somal text accompanying the English translation. This would have helped Somali language students and enthusiasts abundantly.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Leone Davidson

    A lovely collection of poetry by Somalis, most of which in some way involve their life in Somalia. However, the themes of friendship, loss, heartbreak, and others are universal. There are other poems that deal with things of which most Americans have no clue, like camels. There really was not one poem I did not like but my favorites were by Cilmi Bowndheri and Cali Jaamac Haabil. Highly recommend!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Therese Broderick

    When my husband and I were visiting Somaliland, I found this book on the shelves of the guest house in which we were staying. It contains one of the most poignant lyrics, a poem (translated into English) written by the prominent Somali poet Ismail Mire Elmi (1878 to 1952).

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Burns

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eliana

  8. 5 out of 5

    Subeer Jama

  9. 5 out of 5

    Farah

  10. 4 out of 5

    Fatima filzan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mohamed M

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sindiya Darman

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mohamed Jama

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zekariye Cantalale

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yussuf

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dina Abdalla

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kassim Adam

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ai

  20. 5 out of 5

    K Lafo

  21. 4 out of 5

    Edward Butler

  22. 4 out of 5

    Max López

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tesni

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rahma

  25. 5 out of 5

    Verena Bimazubute

  26. 4 out of 5

    Khays Abdikadir

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carraweelo

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zaka

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leila

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adam Walker

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