In This Fragile World - Swahili Poetry of Commitment by Ustadh Mahmoud Mau

This book, edited by Annachiara Raia and Clarissa Vierke, is a pioneering collection of poetry by the outstanding Kenyan poet, intellectual and imam Ustadh Mahmmoud Mau (born 1952) from Lamu island, once an Indian Ocean hub, now on the edge of the nation state. By means of poetry in Arabic script, the poet raises his voice against social ills and injustices troubling his community on Lamu. The book situates Mahmoud Mau’s oeuvre within transoceanic exchanges of thoughts so characteristic of the Swahili coast. It shows how Swahili Indian Ocean intellectual history inhabits an individual biography and writings. Moreover, it also portrays a unique African Muslim thinker and his poetry in the local language, which has so often been neglected as major site for critical discourse in Islamic Africa.

This book has been published in the Islam in Africa Series, Volume: 25, Brill Publishers.

The book is available open access; alternatively, it can be ordered with Brill.

Author(s) / editor(s)

Ustadh Mahmmoud Mau, Annachiara Raia, Clarissa Vierke

Date, time and location

07 January 2023

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Annachiara Raia is a literary scholar interested in African-language literatures, philology and comparative studies. She has worked on Swahili manuscripts and poets from Kenya.

Clarissa Vierke is professor of Literatures in African Languages at Bayreuth University (Germany).

Full text, catalogue, and publisher website