With Puukare, Thierno Seydou Sall is holding up a mirror to his compatriots and to Senegalese society as a whole. There, each and every one of us is forced to look at his own reflection, a potentially painful exercise in self-examination, whether we like it or not. In essence, these beautiful poems are a reminder to us to respect all human beings; they also tell us never do to others what we would not want them to do to us. Reading Puukareis an exquisitely exhilarating experience, making us more aware of the importance of values like solidarity, compassion and hard work, the core values, one might say, of a truly harmonious social life.
WHO IS THIERNO SEYDOU SALL ?
The great authors know better than anybody else how to lead us through a maze of unexplored realms from which we reemerge transformed by extraordinary emotions. That is primarily the case of children, like the example of Thierno Seydou Sall shows. Impacted at a very young age by famous poets, he has always dreamed of following in their footsteps. That is why, while attending the Malick Sy high school in Thies, he had already understood the importance and the implications of writing. It is therefore no coincidence that his name is as well known in Senegal as it is internationally.
Born in 1958 in Khombole, Thierno Seydou Sall has initiated himself to the school of life. After having traveled throughout Senegal in order to better understand the realities and concerns of his own people, he has read his poems in Mali and Burkina Faso, creating a link, along with a number of renowned artists, between music and literature in Africa.
In 1993, he arrives to the United States where we still remember his brilliant performances at Indiana University Bloomington, but also in Lafayette, New York, Boston and Los Angeles. The opportunity has repeatedly been given to the son of Khombole to moderate literary talks and to show his visceral attachment to African languages.
But before his tour of the United States, Thierno had resided in France between 1989 and 1992. The experience of humiliation and racism he had faced there is unquestionably one of the worse memories of his life. Expelled from France in demeaning conditions, he says today that his decision to write in Wolof partly comes from that particular period of his life.
Yet, as a sensitive poet to the human condition, Thierno Seydou Sall refuses to be blinded by anger and hatred. He can thus observe with a peaceful lucidity: “In all the countries of the world, we will find the best and the worse of humankind, people that are cruel and insensitive, but also people with a generous and open mind. My deepest belief is that all the people on earth must hold each other’s hand.” It is this same faith in Man and Future that nurtures Thierno Seydou Sall in Bouffées poétiques, his other collection of poems, which will be published by “Lettres de Renaissances,” a publishing house founded by Amadou Elimane Kane.