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Soaring On Winged Verse
The Life of Ethiopian Poet-Playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin
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This book is the official memoir of the late Ethiopian Poet Laureate Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin. From 1951 to 1996, Tsegaye wrote close to 45 plays (including translations and adaptations) as well as a volume of poetry, Isat Woy Abeba (Blaze or Bloom), hailed among the most influential works in Amharic. Original in thought and provocative in content, Tsegaye’s works probe into the tumultuous meeting spaces of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ values while critically examining assumptions of identity across generations.
The memoir, completed posthumously by author Fasil Yitbarek, begins in the twilight years of Tsegaye’s life in New York, as a collaborative effort between the author and the poet. It is a text that is culled from long interview sessions. Part of the book was completed after Tsegaye’s death in February 2006 through extensive research done by family members, the author, and the editor, both in the U.S. and in Ethiopia.
Soaring on Winged Verse serves as an intimate window into the writer’s world and a glimpse of the possible origins of his creative musings. Chronicling his humble beginnings as a shepherd in Boda to his rise as a luminary literary figure, this publication arguably represents the most complete memoir of Tsegaye’s eventful life.
Fasil Yitbarek is an Ethiopian author, poet, translator and teacher. He is currently a professor of English at Qatar University in Doha, Qatar. Fasil is the author of an English novel, The Texture of Dreams (2005), and has also published a collection of Amharic poems called Embilta (2007). He has translated Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground. His new book is a biography of the Ethiopian Poet Laureate Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Soaring on Winged Verse: The Life of Ethiopian Poet-Playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin. Fasil’s many years of close friendship with Tsegaye and other family members have provided him opportunity to begin this project and draw ample inspiration from the poet’s life to see this memoir through to its completion.
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