Looking for Poetry, Hearing the Song among the Fon Women of Benin


ACLS Fellowship Program


French and Italian

Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


This study is the first to examine the poetry produced by women among the Fon people—a major ethnic group in Benin. It involves collecting, transcribing, translating, and analysing this poetry. An important part of the study focuses the nature of “poetry” in the context of orality as the concept of poetry changes in traditional cultures where it is chanted and modulated by song; it is also woven in the fabric of events such as ritual ceremonies. These factors demand a new conceptual frame and innovative analytical tools to examine the subject matters, techniques, traditions, and institutional foundations of women’s oral poetry among the Fon.