Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 18
- Grade: 12
- Reading age: 18
Teardrops on the Weser navigates a geographical river that runs through northwestern Germany, but also an autobiographical river that's sourced in the Niger River Delta of Amatoritsero Ede's native Nigeria. Thus, his river of letters-of type versus stereotype, which is sectioned alphabetically, echoes African-American poet Langston Hughes' "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," but also shouts out to German poet Rainer Maria Rilke and the martyred, Nigerian poet Ken Saro-Wiwa. But one might also think of Canadian poet Judith Fitzgerald's River (1995) and Brit bard Ted Hughes' River (1983). But the echoes are extras-just glintings upon the poet's original scintillance: "a sharp drawn breath / and I swallow sea water / just as a swallow swoops // across my view and up / to claim the roof / above my head." No mater what: Never can you read the same poem the same way twice. You lunge forward on these rapids; you don't lounge. - George Elliott Clarke 7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada (2016 & 2017)
A masterful evocation of past wrongs through the lens of a seductively peaceful present. Amatoritsero Ede's meditative voice seduces us into a voyeuristic trance on a German river bank. Until we are suddenly awakened to the realisation that the "teardrops" are not for the Weser but for the burden of history carried all the way to Africa and beyond. A compelling read. - Olive Senior
Here's poetry at its best. Here's a collection that astounds with the freshness of its imagery and the ripple and flow of its lyricism. Like the river of its title, it runs non-stop through the reader's mind. This is a collection to return to over and over again. - Helon Habila, Award-Wining, novelist and poet.