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A Rain of Words

A Bilingual Anthology of Women's Poetry in Francophone Africa
Irène Assiba d'Almeida, ed. Translated by Janis A. Mayes


BUY Cloth · 368 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813927657 · $75.00 · Feb 2009
BUY Paper · 368 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813927664 · $27.50 · Feb 2009

Although the past two decades have seen a wide recognition of the notable fiction written in French by African women, little attention has been given to their equally significant poetry. A Rain of Words is the first comprehensive attempt to survey the poetic production of these women, collecting work by forty-seven poets from a dozen francophone African countries. Some are established writers; others are only beginning to publish their work. Almost none of the poems here have been published outside of Africa or Europe or been previously translated into English. The poems are accompanied by brief biographies of the poets. Supplementing these are a critical introductory essay by Irène Assiba d'Almeida that places women's poetry in the context of recent African history, characterizes its thematic and aesthetic features, and traces the process by which the anthology was compiled and edited, an essay by Janis A. Mayes discussing language politics, the cultural contexts within which the poetry emerges, and literary translation strategies, and an extensive bibliography.

This landmark bilingual collection--the result of ten years of research, collection, editing, and translation--offers readers of English and French entry into a flourishing and essential genre of contemporary African literature.

Reviews:


A Rain of Words is a groundbreaking book that will undoubtedly make a major contribution to the fields of African, women's, francophone, literary, and translation studies. This superb anthology not only fills a void but will stimulate interest in the genre of poetry as well. The range of countries and generations included in this project is astounding.

Renée LarrierRutgers University, author of Francophone Women Writers of Africa and the Caribbean

A Rain of Words is a groundbreaking book that will undoubtedly make a major contribution to the fields of African, women's, francophone, literary, and translation studies. This superb anthology not only fills a void but will stimulate interest in the genre of poetry as well. The range of countries and generations included in this project is astounding.

Renée Larrier, Rutgers University, author of Francophone Women Writers of Africa and the Caribbean

A Rain of Words is an important document and resource, since it represents the compilation and reclamation of valuable, rare literary production. In addition, it responds to two real needs: locating and foregrounding poetry by women and by African women, and making these voices accessible through translation to a wider public.

E. Anthony Hurley, Stony Brook University, author of Through a Black Veil: Readings in French Caribbean Literature

"A Rain of Words is an important document and resource, since it represents the compilation and reclamation of valuable, rare literary production. In addition, it responds to two real needs: locating and foregrounding poetry by women and by African women, and making these voices accessible through translation to a wider public.

E. Anthony HurleyStony Brook University, author of Through a Black Veil: Readings in French Caribbean Literature

About the Author: 

Irène Assiba d'Almeida is Professor of French and Francophone Studies and Department Head at the University of Arizona and the author of Francophone African Women Writers: Destroying the Emptiness of Silence and editor of Femmes africaines en poésie. Janis A. Mayes is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Syracuse University and the translator of The City Where No One Dies (from the French, La ville où nul ne meurt) by Bernard Dadié and The Blind Kingdom (from the French, Le Royaume aveugle) by Véronique Tadjo.

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