The one who looks to be in a hurry. The one who looks to be quick. The one who drives a good car. The one who wears designer shoes and the one who goes barefoot. All these intellectuals and illiterates travelling up and down the road, overcrowding it from top to bottom.
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Ethiopia is one such country and the featured poems here by Bewketu Seyoum, reflect many of these changes and the search for a more positive future. So in the poem Bewketu directs his ire at fat cats throughout the world. If tortured spirits who have lived in chains are suddenly called to freedom, the door of their cell thrown open and the guards sent home, they will not feel truly free unless they break through the wall.
Sadly, although there have been certain improvements in rates of mortality and education, political and human rights are still very bad in Ethiopia; there is little in the way of press freedom, and the country still ranks as one of the poorest in the world. The cover of In Search of Fat has a drawing by Bewketu of a person with their hands up, with a large catapult tied to each wrist.
It is a great image and is so resonant to the situation in Ferguson, USA, where the protesters hold their hands up , as Michael Brown is reported to have done when fatally shot by police. Bewketu Seyoum is a popular young Ethiopian poet and writer he is also a comedian from Makusa in Gojjam, north-west of Addis Ababa.
He has published three collections of Amharic poetry, two novels, and two CDs of humorous stories. In Search of Fat is translated by Chris Beckett , for whom I am very grateful for suggesting Bewketu to be included on the site. I hope to include many more translated poems on the site. But you should take a look at Modern Poetry in Translation magazine, edited by the poet and playwright Sasha Dugdale.
When I read these lines I thought what an image! They were enough for me to reach for my Visa card. I also loved watching him performing live. The first poem he read about wanting to be a river to emigrate but still be at home was marvellous. Thanks for the introduction Peter. Like Liked by 1 person. Thanks for the comment Owen and glad you liked it. Like Like. Thank you so much for posting this. I also hope his previous poetry works would be translated into english to reach a larger audience.
You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. The door to freedom If tortured spirits who have lived in chains are suddenly called to freedom, the door of their cell thrown open and the guards sent home, they will not feel truly free unless they break through the wall.
Here is Bewketu performing his poems in Manchester, England with translation. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Peter Like Like. Thanks very much. Best wishes, Peter Like Like. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public.
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It’s All the Same
Ethiopian poet and essayist Bewketu Seyoum reciting his work. Image via Youtube user: Yehabesha. Without a doubt, satire and poetry form part of the normal Ethiopian way of life. However, expression of dissent have been a rarity in Ethiopia.
The road to nowhere ወደ ምንም የሚያደርስው መንገድ
In this tongue-in-cheek story from Ethiopia, a man ponders his spending habits, his proposal to regulate Ethiopian beggars, and whether to end his own life. Walking is good for the health—it saves you from the headaches that come from having to pay for taxis. For many years my daily spend was fifty birr. At one point I thought, instead of depleting my pocket of fifty per day, why not just take my own life? I figured the best option would be to use a noose. But if I wished to remain the sort of gentleman used to being able to spend fifty birr a day, it seemed hardly fitting to submit to death brought about by a rope worth only a quarter.
Bewketu Seyoum is a popular young Ethiopian poet and writer. He studied psychology and English at Addis Ababa University. His father is an English teacher and his mother comes from a family of Orthodox Christian priests. His first collection of Amharic poems, Nwari Alba Gojowoch Unmanned Houses , was published in and has since been reprinted three times.