Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Ethiopian American Mahtem Shiferraw’s Fuchsia examines conceptions of the displaced, disassembled, and nomadic self. Embedded in her poems are colors, elements, and sensations that evoke painful memories related to deep-seated remnants of trauma, war, and diaspora. Yet rooted in these losses and dangers also lie opportunities for mending and reflecting, evoking a distinct sense of hope. Elegant and traditional, the poems in Fuchsia examine what it means to both recall the past and continue onward with a richer understanding.
It is exciting to see a poet working intensely at precision of language to capture the most difficult things for language to capture…. This is a study of poetic obsession, and what we get is the indisputable evidence that beyond any desire to say something, to communicate some of the complexity of the world, some polemical or political idea, there is in Shiferraw a desire to challenge her skills as a poet to capture, through the limitations of language, the infinite possibilities of our universe.Kwame Dawes, APBF Series Editor, Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner
Mahtem Shiferraw. Fuchsia. 2015.
It’s a deep purple thought;
once it unraveled prematurely
and its tail broken, leaving a faint trail
of rummaging words.