So, which Côte d’Ivoire? Yet, even that designation is not so stable — leftist nationalists of the recent wars often proclaim, not Côte d’Ivoire, but the state of Éburnie; Éburnie is proposed as a change to the country name, a change that would help move the country further from the status of residual French colony or international resource extraction zone. And as the country split during the civil wars, rebels in the north referred to a Republic of the North. So, who is an Ivorian poet?
Author note: The poem presented here is from Emmanuel Toh Bi Tié’s recent collection, Parulies rebelles (Éditions L’Harmattan, 2007; As boils in the mouth, so rebels in our towns), in which he addresses the burden of rebel forces settling into towns during the First Ivorian Civil War (2002–2007).
Author note:A fragment of the long poem Zakwatois published here. In the poem, Zakwato is trusted to be on watch for his village but falls asleep. He wakes to find his village decimated. Bereft, Zakwato travels toward a distant smith to have his eyelids removed. Like this, he will be forever vigilant of foreign invaders.