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“I am coming..” new short drama Alemayehu and Marta

Some scholars (Ethiopian, Italian, German, and British) have translated Ethiopian folk ballads as part of their cultural and sociological research, with many of these lyrics appearing in Richard Pankhurst’s excellent Journal of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies. Tsegaye Gabre Medhin and Solomon Deressa, for example, were well-known twentieth-century poets who produced or translated their own English poetry. This is a position shared by some of Ethiopia’s numerous exiled poets, such as Hama Tuma. This is a milestone moment for Ethiopian poetry, which has thrived for years in its own proud highland bubble! I was astonished, then enraged, to see that no Ethiopian writers were featured in The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry when I first saw it in 2002. Ethiopians would cynically declare, “We suffer from never having been colonized,” and there is a grain of truth in this horrible witicism. I grew up in Addis Abeba in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until I began writing Ethiopia Boy that I learned how little English-language translations of Ethiopian literature were available. The majority of literary translations from European languages to Amharic, on the other hand, are still done this manner. A rhymed couplet of two twelve-syllable lines with a break in the middle, comparable to an alexandrine, is the primary building block of Amharic poetry in its original form. This is the basis on which poets create, depart, and return. Amharic rhymes significantly more easily than English since it is an inflected language.

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