Mother Tongues: Poems

Tsitsi Ella Jaji


Northwestern University Press

Winner of the 2018 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize

Tsitsi Ella Jaji’s second full-length collection of poems, Mother Tongues, begins at home, with the first words and loves we learn, and the most intimate vows we swear. How deep does your language go back? Jaji’s artful verse is a three-tiered gourd of sustenance, vessel, and folklore. The tongues speak the beginnings and the present; they capture and claim the losses, the ironies, and a poet’s human evolution. Mother Tongues is a collection of language unto itself that translates directly to the heart.