- BLUES IN BLACK AND WHITE, by May Ayim, Translated by Anne Adams
The ever-engaging work of the controversial Afro-German activist/writer, May Ayim, covers a fascinating range of themes: biography, politics, love as well as the absurdities of everyday life. Her unique ability to passionately transform diverse subject matters into poetic language is revealed in this important collection of translated pieces. Her play with language is effective and at times transformative, as it expresses and exposes dangerous stereotypes and messages hidden in the everyday use of language and human behavior. Here, her readers will be surprised and frequently confronted with Ayims keen and powerful observations of the complexities of life and the compelling richness of humor and irony within them.
These poems [have] passion and irony and always a strong magnetic force...for even her humor, her playing with words and her punch lines never veil the strength of her protest against racism, sexism, and all the other isms that add sadness to our society. In Mays voice, I found the echo of other sounds from the diaspora. Her unrestrainedness, her humor and lyric expressiveness equal those of Léon-Gontron Damas, one of the fathers of Negritude.... An extraordinary voice. Unique and already in the hearts of all of us that are persecuted and full of thirst.
from the introduction to the German edition.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MAY AYIM (1960-1996) was born in Hamburg, Germany, of Ghanaian and German descent. She traveled widely and was very active in the Black Movement and the Womens Movement for many years. She was also a lecturer at the Free University of Berlin for several years and worked as a speech therapist. Her works of poetry and prose have been published internationally in anthologies and journals.
ANNE ADAMS is a professor in the Africana Studies & Research Center and associate director of womens studies at Cornell University. She is the former president of the African Literature Association.