The complete poems of Leopold Sedar Senghor, possibly Africa's most famous poet, are offered in translation for the first time in this bilingual edition. The book, representing the culmination of a lifetime of work, includes "Lost Poems", a collection of Senghor's earliest work. Senghor's poetry contrasts the lushness and wonder of Africa's past with the alienation and loss associated with assimilation into European culture. Co-founder of the negritude literary movement, Senghor is concerned that ways be provided for African and European cultures to enrich each other while preserving their own cultural identities. His poetry, alive with sensual imagery, reclaims his ancestral heritage and celebrates African culture. He writes with an awareness of his readers, preparing them to receive his culture and its values. With emotional power, he draws the reader deep into his world. In his introduction, translator Melvin Dixon places Senghor's writing in a historical perspective by relating it to his political inolvement.
Dixon also elaborates on the ways in which the poems chronicle Senghor's own development as an intellectual, particularly on his struggles with issues of self and cultural identity. Dixon's translation preserves the integrity of Senghor's work by retaining, in the original, words and expressions unique to Senghor's African French, expressions whose meaning would be compromised in translation.
Publisher: University of Virginia Press