This eleven-piece, limited-edition box set—an African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) project—features the work of ten new African poets.
“An amazing assemblage in this set of ten chapbooks. The entirety of it—the books and the language, the art and the binding—is a thing of beauty, and reading it is an experience not to be missed.” —New York Journal of Books
The limited-edition box set is an annual project started in 2014 to ensure the publication of seven to ten chapbooks by African poets through Akashic Books. The series seeks to identify the best poetry written by African poets working today, and it is especially interested in featuring poets who have not yet published their first full-length book of poetry.
The ten poets included in this box set are: Yasmin Belkhyr, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Chekwube O. Danladi, Mary-Alice Daniel, Lena Bezawork Grönlund, Ashley Makue, Momtaza Mehri, Famia Nkansa, Ejiofor Ugwu, and Chimwemwe Undi.
CHRIS ABANI, a Nigerian-born, award-winning poet and novelist, currently teaches at Northwestern University in Chicago. He is the recipient of a PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, a Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond Margins Award, a PEN/Hemingway Award, and a Guggenheim Award. He is the author of the novellas Song for Night and Becoming Abigail, the editor of Lagos Noir and the series coeditor, with Kwame Dawes, of the African Poetry Book Series—the latest of which is Tisa: New-Generation African Poets, A Chapbook Box Set.
KWAME DAWES’s debut novel She’s Gone (Akashic) was the winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award (Debut Fiction). He is the author of twenty-one books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. In 2016, his book Speak from Here to There, a cowritten collection of verse with Australian poet John Kinsella, was released along with When the Rewards Can Be So Great: Essays on Writing and the Writing Life, which Dawes edited. His most recent collection, City of Bones: A Testament, was published in 2017. His awards include the Forward Poetry Prize, the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, the Musgrave Silver Medal, several Pushcart Prizes, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and an Emmy Award. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and is Chancellor Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. Dawes serves as the associate poetry editor for Peepal Tree Press and is director of the African Poetry Book Fund. He is series editor of the African Poetry Book Series—the latest of which is Tisa: New-Generation African Poets, A Chapbook Box Set—and artistic director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 2018 was elected as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Bivouac is his latest work published by Akashic.
Profound and thought-provoking . . . A fascinating collection of diverse voices bringing new ideas to the world of poetry.
— The Journal (West Virginia)
New-Generation African Poets is an ambitious, vital project that delivers exactly what it promises . . . As a group, the chapbooks dispel stereotypes about African writing. They also illustrate what editors Dawes and Abani note about the many ways poets can understand or redefine their ties to Africa. These insights are poignant and valuable, especially at a time when millions around the globe find themselves somewhere between new countries and ancestral lands they’ve left behind.
— Washington Post
This limited-edition box set of ten African poets is gorgeous. Not only does it introduce readers to the best poetry by contemporary poets of the African and the African diaspora, it showcases the art of Eritrean painter Ficre Ghebreyesus . . . As Abani says in his preface, no body has been more commoditized and dehumanized than the black body, the African body. The collection provides space for these reclamations. The poets write about religion, political issues, memory and forgetting, immigrant experiences and relationships. Some poems are quiet and reflective, some lively and sharp, all using sound and metaphor in unexpected ways.
Edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani, the yearly poetry chapbook set is a delightful combination of emerging African poets. This year’s collection is no less ambitious in its scope: Nne introduces poets of a singular talent, exploring themes of belonging, questioning lands and seas that offer them refuge and refuse them at the same time. Giving voice to new poets is a particularly necessary task, and the African Poetry Book Fund continues to do so every year.
— World Literature Today, included in “What to Read Now: Selected Works from the African Diaspora”
Dawes and Abani have taken on the vital project of publishing short collections by contemporary poets from Africa, packaged together in beautiful boxed sets.
— New York Times Magazine, on New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Tatu)