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Anglo-Ethiopian SocietyThe Anglo-Ethiopian Society

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The Songs We Learn from Trees Virtual Launch Tour has now finished and all videos of the poetry readings that were made for the event are available to watch.

Songs We Learn from Trees is the first anthology of Ethiopian Amharic poetry in English, packed with all the energy, wit and heartache of a beautiful country and language. From folk and religious poems, warrior boasts, praises of women and kings and modern plumbing; through a flowering of literary poets in the twentieth century; right up to thirty of the most exciting contemporary Amharic poets working both inside and outside the country.
These poems ask what it means to be Ethiopian today, part of a young fast-growing economy, heirs to the one African state which was never colonised, but beset by deep political, ethnic and moral problems.
 
Songs We Learn from Trees
Edited and translated by Chris Beckett & Alemu Tebeje
Manchester, Carcanet Classics, 2020
Paperback
ISBN 9781784109479
RRP £18.99
Take a look at Chris's blog post about his trip to Addis Ababa last year to meet lots of the poets for the anthology.

You can listen to Chris and Alemu discussing the book on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, which aired on Wednesday 3 June.

Carcanet released seven videos during the week of the launch, with the editors and contributors discussing, and reading from, the book:

Meet the Editors: Chris Beckett and Alemu Tebeje on Songs We Learn from Trees
Gemeraw (Hailu Gebre-Yohannes) - For the voiceless people (pg. 77)

Misrak Terefe
Please come for me! (pg. 191)

Makonnen Wodajeneh
The onion (pg. 248)

Alemtshay Wodajo
The soul has a message (pg. 255)
You cry unexpectedly (pg. 257)

Zewdu Milikit
Our journey (pg. 164)
My silly stomach (pg. 167)

Alemu Tebeje
Greetings to the people of Europe! (pg. 232)

Lemn Sissay
Listener (pg. 229)

Note: Though in the virtual launch tour most of the poems are read in Amharic and English, in the book the poetry is only in English - except Mihret Kebede Alwabie's An intimate exile (pg. 139), which was originally written with verses in both English and Amharic.

Carcanet were offering 25% off the book during the launch - but their offer expired on Sunday 14 June. Don't worry though, at the moment it is possible to find it on sale at 34% off elsewhere.

And finally, Songs We Learn from Trees is our online bookclub choice for Thursday 16 July 2020.
 
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