The latest New-Generation African Poets Chapbook Box Set titled Tisa just came out on July 4 through Akashic Books. Edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani, the chapbook features the brilliant work of 11 emerging African poets.
This twelve-piece, limited-edition box set is a project started in 2014 by the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF), which promotes and advances the development and publication of the poetic arts. To date, the New-Generation African Poets Chapbook Box Set has published more than 100 new poets from Africa and the African diaspora.
The 11 poets included in this box set are: Samuel A. Adeyemi, Nikitta Dede Adjirakor, O-Jeremiah Agbaakin, Rabha Ashry, Jakky Bankong-Obi, Hazem Fahmy, Alain Jules Hirwa, Jay Kophy, Tawiah Naana Akua Mensah, Phodiso Modirwa, and Nneoma Veronica Nwogu.
According to the publisher’s synopsis, the series seeks to identify the best poetry written by African poets working today, and is especially interested in featuring poets who have not yet published their first full-length book of poetry.
The series has done a great job so far of highlighting the best and brightest emerging African poets. Some of the poets published in the earlier chapbook box sets such as Tjawanga Dema, Warsan Shire, Tsitsi Ella Jaji, Inua Ellams, Safia Elhillo, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, and Mary-Alice Daniel have gone on to publish stunning debut poetry collections that have been well-received across the globe.
The co-editor Kwame Dawes remarked that the goal of this series is not to characterize African poetry but to say that people in and from Africa are writing poetry that is “compelling and transformative and relevant, and it deserves to be shared with the world and with Africans”:
The African Poetry Book Fund is a service. Our goal is to promote African poetry and African poets through multiple projects that include our publishing efforts. The project would not exist if there was not a massive failure to do this work for African poetry in the world. We set out to publish African poets, to celebrate and honor the history of African poetry, to engender the study of African poetry, to create a community for African poets in which they can be affirmed and supported in their work, and to create a space in which African poets can continue to thrive. We always began with the understanding that African poetry is a long and complex tradition, and that Africa, as a continent and as a concept, has been forged out of both the negative forces of colonialism and imperialism and by the process of solidarity and strategic collaboration, to somehow resist the collective efforts of Europeans to exploit and demean Africa.
Based on the success of the poets in the series thus far, we can definitely agree that APBF is fulfilling its goals. We are certain that the latest chapbook box set features a host of stunning new poets whose works will become popular in the coming years.
Buy Tisa: New-Generation African Poets here.