Reesom Haile is Eritrea’s best known poet, especially internationally. A poet and scholar with a Ph.D. in Media & Communications from NYU, Haile returned to Eritrea in 1994 after exile that included teaching and lecturing in western universities and working for international NGOs. His first collection of Tigrinya poetry, Waza ms Qum Neger nTensae Hager (Asmara: Francescana Printing, 1997), won the 1998 Raimok prize, Eritrea’s highest prize for literature. His other books of poetry include We Have Our Voice (Trenton and Asmara: Red Sea Press, 2000; translations by Charles Cantalupo) and We Invented the Wheel (Trenton and Asmara: Red Sea Press; translations by Charles Cantalupo). He died in 2003.
National as well as international critical acclaim has established Reesom Haile as Eritrea’s national poet.
In Amiri Baraka’s words, “Reesom Haile’s spare poetic line carries the weight of incisive image, narrative clarity, irony plus a droll humor that speaks ever after you finished reading.” For Carole Boyce Davies, “Reesom Haile offers poetry that is at once sensual and seductive, wise and politically clever, full of wonderful surprises. His poems communicate the author’s deep love for life, his country, absolute freedom and the magic of the word.” In Bob Holman’s judgement, “Reesom Haile is Poet Laureate of Eritrea in the only way possible: elected by the people in the streets. His countrymen & women know and love his poems by heart, shout them back at him, confront him as if literature might walk, and breathe, and engage as life always engages in Asmara, shoulder to shoulder and lip to ear. How’s that sound? is not a question here, because language and music and the great script Ge’ez all resonate full body.”
I’m over this life where can I get a new one