Zakwato the ungovernable, that's me;
and who dares to face me faces a monster.
Exhilarating, alert, and animated by both Bété oral poetics and modernist zeal, ZAKWATO & LOGL&ÊDOU’S PERIL presents two major linked poems by the late Ivorian poet Azo Vauguy, translated into English for the first time by poet and scholar Todd Fredson. Zakwato evokes the legendary figure of Zakwato, who, having slept through the massacre of his village, marches to the blacksmith to have his eyelids removed so that he might never sleep again. Loglêdou’s Peril recounts what he sees with his now sleepless eyes–a vision of a people liberated, awoken, and moving towards a future lit up by their own refulgent song.
“Azo Vauguy's psychic insistent overcomes peril and integrates its energy into a wider incessance as mystery. He ignites lingual flame as nonconscripted auditory blazing–clearing in its waking consciousness as liberty. It seems his voice rises from a vat of ancestral ethers that shapes into disappearance, thereby anointing promulgation into the clarity of what I understand to be lexical invisibility.” —Will Alexander, author of The Combustion Cycle
Poetry. African & African American Studies.
Azo Vauguy was a B�t� poet. The Bété homeland is located in West Africa, in southern Côte d'Ivoire. A career journalist, Vauguy wrote for several Ivorian periodicals, focusing on politics and cutural affairs. He is the author of two poetry collections, Zakwato and Péril Loglêdou. Considered an eminent "neo-oralist" by his peers, his poetry explores mythological terrain and oral forms.
Todd Fredson is a poet, a critic, and a translator of Afro- francophone and West African literature. His translation of Tanella Boni's poetry collection, The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn (University of Nebraska Press, 2018), was a finalist for the 2019 Best Translated Book Award and the 2019 National Translation Award. His work has been supported by Fulbright and NEA fellowships.