Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Solomon Deressa – Poet, Screenwriter and Essayist

Solomon Deressa was born in the highlands of Western Ethiopia (Wollagga) during the Italo-Ethiopian war that covered the years 1935—1941. He missed being born in the then muddy little village that was Addis Ababa by 1.4142… years and was born in the much littler hamlet of the more magical name of Chutta. Addis Ababa means New Flower. Good luck. Solomon claims, “Since plastic flowers were, alas! not yet available, and Monet’s Water Lilies were not yet painted, and if they had been, were not yet known to Abyssinians, the name of the Ethiopian capital, owed and still owes, its double-barreled ostentation more to arrogance than to the almost non-existent Ethiopian’s predilection for euphony or proclivity for descriptive accuracy.” Solomon says that the fore-going statement applies only to Ethiopian poetry. As proof of the accuracy of his claim, he challenges you to pick up the CD Gigi and listen. If you understand Amharic, Gigi will blow your mind. Solomon is a contentious 75 years old who stays out of trouble by keeping humans and territorial dogs at a distance. He has a hard time taking the poems he writes seriously. Anyway, his secret ambition was to participate in the creation of an Ethiopian media (at the time radio and television) that would be worthy of any worthy nation that speaks dozens of language, not to write poems. He took refuge in America when he realized that his Marxist age-mates and the military could not be trusted farther than he could then toss a shot-put. 38 years later, he still feels certain that he made the right decision. There is a river that flows into a large body of seeming water that esoteric geographers call Anguish. Solomon thinks that the littleboat, the land of his birth, aka Ethiopia/Eritrea, has been and still is blithely riding the high waves to Anguish. He does not like reading poetry; he enjoys being read to because it tends to douse anguish.