The Encyclopedia of Rootical Folklore: Plant Tales from Africa and the Diaspora

Regular price $ 24.95

by Natty Mark Samuels

Scorched Earth Press

5/8/2024, hardcover

SKU: 9781961924055


This A-to-Z treasury of stories and poems features plants of Africa and the wider Caribbean region. With each entry, plants become much more than material for humans to use. They serve as links to the orisha deities of African diasporic religions. They speak for themselves, forming alliances with people and animals. They serve as points of connection between the many generations of people who share their stories. In The Encyclopedia of Rootical Folklore, botanical folklorist Natty Mark Samuels keeps the oral tradition of plant lore thriving in the present day. The stories sometimes involve characters of his invention (as well as age-old folklore staples like Anansi) and invoke contemporary situations, from bad bosses to mental health struggles. A baobab tree misses his old friend Birago Diop, a poet of the Négritude movement. Basil comes to the rescue for a woman who's had a rough day. On moonlit evenings in a square in Kingston, kids gather round a Rasta elder to hear tales of dates, guava, and the orishas linked to each plant. The 88 entries, each accompanied by botanical information, blend age-old lore and modern sensibility to bring the plants of Africa and the Caribbean to life. Includes a glossary, illustrations, multilingual species index, and references.

About the Author:

Natty Mark Samuels, dubbed "Oxford's botanical folklorist" by OX Magazine, travels to botanical gardens, youth centers, and carnivals throughout the U.K. telling the stories and singing the songs of African and Caribbean flora. In 2009, seeing that none of Oxford's universities offered undergraduate tuition in African Studies, Samuels founded the African School, where he teaches classes on African folklore, art, and culture for the general public.