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New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Tatu)

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This limited-edition nine-piece box set, an African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) project, features the work of new African poets.

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What people are saying…

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

“Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani, authors of numerous collections of poetry and prose, have taken on the vital project of publishing short collections by contemporary poets from Africa, packaged together in beautiful boxed sets. This poem, from the third and most recent set, stands out for its clarity of observation and empathetic insight into the suffering of another.”
New York Times Magazine, on the featured poem “How to Paint a Girl” by Gbenga Adesina (from “Painter of Water”)

“Full of the music, inventiveness, passion and coolness that make him once of the most exciting poets around to read and to hear read.”
The Poetry School, on Kayombo Chingonyi’s “The Colour of James Brown’s Scream,” one of The Poetry School’s Books of the Year for 2016

“There is quite certainly nothing to doubt about the quality of poems collected here . . . Each poem has an edge that cuts deeply, and every surface of the set is adorned with Victor Ehikhamenor’s vibrant artwork . . . Eight poets hailing from Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia, each lauded in introductions by Dawes, co-editor Chris Abani and a cohort of other poets, make New-Generation African Poets: Tatu a collection pulsing with fresh talent in a series that poetry lovers worldwide should be grateful for.”
Shelf Awareness

“Chris Abani and Dawes also edited Tatu, a collection of contemporary poetry by African poets due out in the spring, as part of their yearly New-Generation African Poets Series.”
The Root


This elegant, limited-edition box set features nine chapbooks: eight volumes of poetry, plus an introduction by editors Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. The eight African poets included are D.M. Aderibigbe, Gbenga Adesina, Kayombo Chingonyi, Safia Elhillo, Chielozona Eze, Nyachiro Lydia Kasese, Ngwatilo Mawiyoo, and Hope Wabuke.

The box set is an annual project of the African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, which seeks to identify the best poetry written by African authors working today, with a special focus on those who have not yet published their first full-length book of poetry.

Read Gbenga Adesina’s “How to Paint a Girl” from “Painter of Water” at the New York Times Magazine.

Read excerpts from the collection at the Poetry Society of America.

Read an interview with editor Kwame Dawes at Literary Hub.

Read an interview with poet Ngwatilo Mawiyoo at Prism Magazine and a feature on her chapbook “Dagoretti Corner” at Roll of Nickels.

Read an interview with contributing poet Hope Wabuke at The African Book Review and Newsday.

Read an interview with Chris Abani at The Guardian.

See below to listen to an interview with poet Kayombo Chingonyi at Lunar Poetry Podcast:

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Published: 4/5/16
  • IBSN: 9781617754517


Kwame Dawes is the Ghana-born, award-winning author of twenty-two books of poetry—including Sturge Town from Norton—and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. He has won Pushcart Prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Emmy, and was the 2019 awardee of the Windham-Campbell Prize in Poetry. He is series editor of the African Poetry Book Series—the latest of which is Kumi: New-Generation African Poets, A Chapbook Box Set. He currently teaches at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

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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 editor of Lagos Noir and the coeditor of Kumi: New-Generation African Poets, A Chapbook Box Set.

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