By Conceição Lima
Translated by David Shook
One of the few book-length poetry collections from São Tomé to appear in English, Lima’s poetry is grounded in place and history of the region.
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9781646053322
eBook ISBN: 9781646053339
A career-spanning collection from São Tomean master Conceição Lima, No Gods Live Here summons the intricacies of her personal history of the landscape with the complicated lineage of the region. Lima houses the cruelties of the country’s past alongside childhood memories, flora, and fauna. Through vivid imagery, Lima’s deep evocations of São Tomé extend from popular Santomean music to imagery of fishermen on the beach, while ever-aware of the subjective meeting of memory, time, and place. Through poetry, Lima brings past and present together to resurrect hope in human creation and the possibility of metamorphosis.
Conceição Lima was born in 1961 in the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, where she resides today. She studied journalism in Portugal and attended graduate school in London, where she later worked as a producer at the BBC’s Portuguese Language Service. She has published four books of poetry: O Útero da Casa (The Womb of the House) in 2004, A Dolorosa Raiz do Micondó (The Painful Root of the Micondó) in 2006, O País de Akendenguê (The Country of Akendenguê) in 2011, and Quando Florirem Salambás no Tecto do Pico (When Velvet Tamarinds Flower on Pico de São Tomé) in 2015. Her work in Shook’s translation has appeared in the Literary Review, Jai-Alai, and World Literature Today.
Shook is a poet and translator whose work with Conceição Lima has been recognized with a 2017 Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and as a winner of the 2021 Words Without Borders—Academy of American Poets Poems in Translation Contest.
Winner of the 2021 Words Without Borders—Academy of American Poets Poems in Translation Contest
“This prize-winning translation haunts. In the vein of a paracolonial text, the poem examines the specters of a racialized human commodity and its ecological aftermath. As if magic or conjure, ‘Afroinsularity’ launches with hints of ghosts and ends in a colony of haints. The reading of each deftly interpreted line thrusts the reader to beautifully confront the ways in which land holds the stories that history attempts to colonize, and how land will out the truth until the long-buried rest.” —Citation by Airea D. Matthews, 2021 Judge of the Words Without Borders—Academy of American Poets Poems in Translation Contest