ANTS WILL NOT EAT YOUR FINGERS: Traditional African Poems by Leonard- Ed. Doob

ANTS WILL NOT EAT YOUR FINGERS: Traditional African Poems

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The poems in this collection are not poems in the usual sense. Many of them were songs or chants, many were parts of rituals, most are embedded in the traditions of various tribes: and almost all of them have been transcribed and translated by others and further altered by the present editor. Thus, they are scarcely personal expressions. They reflect, rather, a kind of simple group consciousness, and a timeless attitude toward birth, love, death, battle, and other basic subjects. Most are brief. A hunter speaks of going to chase hartebeest and tells his wife to grind meal. A medicine man sings while healing. Rain-makers, diviners, lovers, mothers, boys and girls undergoing puberty rites, all have poems to accompany their acts or states of mind. There are also a surprising number of semi-abstract poems about truth, behavior, etc., prayers, and comments on life. Taken out of their context of ritual and music, these poems necessarily lose many of their meanings: yet they are still interesting expressions of another kind of life and thought. Mr. Doob is the Chairman of the Council on African Studies at Yale.

Publisher: Walker