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
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.