Solomon Deressa, prominent Ethiopian poet, dies

Solomon Deressa died in the United States

borkena, Ethiopian News
November 2,2017

Solomon Deressa - Ethiopia
The Late Solomon Deressa
Photo : ETV

Solomon Deressa – a prominent Ethiopian poet – passed away today at the age of 80, disclosed sources close to the family. Regarding family, Obituary published in Star Tribune reads he is “survived by his brother Berhane, sister Ijigayehu, daughter Galanne, step-daughter Eva, grandchildren, Mosissa, Ella, Sarah and Ian, many other relatives and friends.”

Ethiopians are shocked as the news quickly spread on social media.

He lived in the United States since the 1980’s and died in Minnesota. He has put his own marks in Ethiopian literature, especially in poetry.

His works were featured in Wole Soyinka’s, Nigeria’s prominent writer, collection. “Lijent”, “Zebet ilfitu” and “Walotat” are some of his best-published poetry works.

Solomon Deressa was born in Wellega to a family of an Oromo nobility. He is related to Yilma Deressa who served as finance minister and foreign affairs minister during the imperial government of Haileselassie.

In the 1960’s, Solomon Deressa wrote articles extensively on Ethiopian magazine. His thoughts are solid and tend to take readers into the realm of philosophy.

The concent “Hyphenated-Ethiopian” is very much linked to him;he employed it to capture the challenges of living in two different cultures.

Solomon studied philosophy in the United States and earned a degree, and taught at the University of Minnesota.

If we are to call an Oromo who is very doubtful, if not disgusted by it, ethnic politics, Solomon Deressa is on the top of the list. “What do I know as to who passed my grandma for me to claim that I am an Oromo” is his famous remark that resonates very well among Ethiopians of this generation, who are -ironically – victims of ethnic politics.

He always considered himself as a proud Ethiopian.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday 5 November, 2017 at 2 pm at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, 900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis.

The editor at borkena would like to express sincere condolences to his family

*PS: if you are interested in writing tribute to the late Solomon Deressa, please send e-mail to : editor@borkena.com
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