The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Big Dipper
‘Novelist Waberi, the best-known contemporary writer from the East African nation of Djibouti, evokes “an entire life in the echo of my tongue” in his first collection of poems. His terse sequences incorporate the region’s recent troubles with civil wars and Islamic extremists along with ancient fable and history. The Koranic story of Bilal recurs as a myth of national origin; the poet asks us to “let nomadic words live,” with “oral ancestors’ shadow/ resisting harsh winters.” Sometimes Waberi returns to the landscape: “my tree the aloe/ my flower the crack in the cactus / my river none in my land.” But his verse, in its trim stanzas and its thin lists, insists on its modernity too.’ —Publishers Weekly
‘Movement is essential to this collection of poetry as Waberi illustrates the landscape and life of Djibouti in his concise yet dense poems.’ —World Literature Today
‘Waberi writes the sort of spare, clear poetry one would expect of a poet whose chief subject matter is the desert. Born in Djibouti, Africa, Waberi selects his words with great care, which results in a book of extremely short, yet powerfully suggestive, pieces.’ —Independent
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