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, a glossary, and an extensive bibliography. Supplementing these are a critical introductory essay by Irene Assiba d'Almeida on the artistic role women have played in oral traditions and an essay by Janis A. Mayes discussing language politics and the cultural contexts within which the poetry emerges.This landmark bilingual collection - the result of ten years of research, collection, editing, and translation - offers readers of English or French entry into a flourishing and essential genre of contemporary African literature.
Irene 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. Janis A. Mayes is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Syracuse University and the translator of The City Where No One Dies (La Ville ou nul ne meurt), by Bernard Binlin Dadie.