So when I started researching ideas for this Poetic Potpourri, one of those weird series of links that always occur when we do web searches led me to Enheduanna. And I was fascinated. Surely I should have read about her before? But I don’t recall having done so at all. And then I wondered why more is not known about her. Which is why today’s post is written with an intent to introduce you to supercool girl power in the form of Enheduanna!
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Who is Enheduanna?
Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) is the world’s earliest known poet whose name has been recorded!! Isn’t that so cool?? Also written as Enheduana or En-hedu-ana. The ‘EN’ in her name comes from the Sumerian cuneiform for “lord” or “priest”. En therefore designated a Sumerian high priest or priestess; and that position came with political power as well.
Enheduanna’s name translates as: `En’ (Chief Priest or Priestess); `hedu’ (ornament); `Ana’ (of heaven); so it means “The High Priestess [named] Ornament of the Sky.” Her father was (believed to be) the great Mesopotamian king, Sargon of Akkad, while her mother was most likely from Sumeria.
Enheduanna, Priestess and Poet
As high priestess, Edenhuanna had many tasks. A key task was to reconcile the Akkadian gods with the Sumerian gods so as to ensure Sargon’s rule of the important city of Ur. And based on what history and archaeologists know, she succeeded – significantly! In addition, her works became standards for poetry and prayer written even centuries later.
According to historian Paul Kriwaczek, Enheduanna:
“is credited with creating the paradigms of poetry, psalms, and prayers used throughout the ancient world… Her compositions, though only rediscovered in modern times, remained models of petitionary prayer for even longer. Through the Babylonians, they influenced and inspired the prayers and psalms of the Hebrew Bible and the Homeric hymns of Greece. Through them, faint echoes of Enheduanna, the first named literary author in history, can even be heard in the hymnody of the early Christian church.” (Kriwaczek quoted in Mark, 2014).
Enheduanna’s best known works were as below, each one in praise of the goddess Inanna:
- Inninsagurra (‘The Great-Hearted Mistress’)
- Ninmesarra (‘The Exaltation of Inanna’)
- Inninmehusa (‘Goddess of the Fearsome Powers’)
Edenhuanna also wrote at least 42 other hymns, collectively called as The Temple Hymns. All of her works had significant impact and influence on later petitionary prayers, psalms, and poems.
William Hallo, a professor of Babylonian Literature, even dubbed her as the Shakespeare of Sumerian literature.
Some lines (translated) from Inninsagurra (‘The Great-Hearted Mistress’) are as below:
“You are magnificent, your name is praised, you alone are magnificent!
My lady…I am yours! This will always be so! May your heart be soothed towards me!“
h/t, References, and Further/Related Reading
- World History Encyclopedia
- The En-hedu-Ana Research Pages
- 12 Women Poets to Read -Inspired by World Poetry Day (on my blog!)
Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals
Title: Eric Carle’s Animals Animals
Compiler: Laura Whipple
Illustrator: Eric Carle
Length: 96 pages
Genre: Children’s Poetry (6 – 9 years, and up)
Publisher: Puffin Books (September 1st 1999)
Source: Internet Archive
Description: In this thoughtfully selected collection of poems about animals, you’ll meet creatures of every sort, from an ant to a yak. Poems penned by various poets such as Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Ogden Nash, Jack Prelutsky and Rudyard Kipling, as well as poems from across cultures are included in this collection; and each one is brilliantly and brightly illustrated by Eric Carle in his distinctive style.
The selected poems are so varied and so much fun. Haiku from various poets, poems passed by oral traditions over the years in different cultures, poems from poets such as Lear, Carroll, Dickinson, Kipling, and even Shakespeare along with a multitude of others, all make their way into this book.
I discovered so many poets I did not know before; and delighted in reading poems from Australian Aborigines, Pawnee Indians, and more, as well as proverbs and verses from various sources. Considering it is 90+ pages, there are tons of poems accompanied by Eric Carle’s signature style vibrant artwork. And the two together – verse and art – make for wonderful storytelling and lots of magic.
Parents, caregivers, and teachers can easily use this book as a resource to teach poetic forms as well as to learn about animals, and cultures as well. They can use it to show how language changed over time, since this book includes poems across time and space.
A great giftable book for young and old readers; with Eric Carle’s illustrations bound to appeal to all ages, and the carefully chosen set of poems sure to delight its readers regardless of who they are.
You can read it online here. Or get a beautiful edition for yourself or a loved young one who loves animals through one of the links below. Considering I truly enjoy Eric Carle’s art, this might just make it on my coffee table! Those colors do cheer me up.
Get It Here
Emmy in the Key of Code
Title: Emmy in the Key of Code
Author: Aimee Lucido
Length: 416 pages
Genre: Children’s Novels in Verse/Middle Grade, STEM Fiction (8 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher: Versify (September 24th 2019)
Source: My digital copy
Description: In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of the Girls Who Code series and The Crossover.
Another book I started reading mainly because of the A2Z challenge, and I am more than halfway through the book already (considering my posts start getting ready just a few hours before I actually post them here!) So that should already tell you how I feel about this book. It is after all 400+ pages; but don’t the size daunt you. Once you get started, it is a breeze and a delight to keep reading this one.
It is loads of fun; for this book has a few of my favorite things: poetry, coding, and music. While I cannot say I am an expert in any of these things, I do love writing poetry and love sharing what I know about it through my Poetic Sundays posts here. As for coding, I do have a degree in computer sciences and was a Quality Assurance engineer in software firms for years testing apps. My teens have both been learning music for years now, and I could understand many of the terms because of that. (If not, there is a glossary included to help). And music is something I grew up around as well, with a dad who loved to sing, and listen to music so very often.
My Thoughts So Far
From Hello World (well, I mean, from the very beginning) to that point in the book where I am currently, this book has kept me smiling at every turn. Emmy, the protagonist is truly lovable and relatable, as are her parents. And well, all the other characters I have met so far are also real and recognizable.
The poems themselves are playful, sweet, and full of surprises! And even though I am not done with the book, I already know I will love it all the way through. Sometimes, you just know it.
While knowing coding and/or music does make it easier to breeze through the book, either is really needed to enjoy this book. But I love how this book can spark interests in any and all of these easily.
Backmatter includes an Author’s Note which was like reading a letter a friend wrote to me (I read the author’s note even though I am not yet done with the book). And then there is a glossary for coding terms as well as one for music terms used throughout the book.
Perfect for all those who love any or all of the things this book talks about – music, coding, and poetry. And then perfect for all those who are learning to navigate friendships and life in those tween years as well. I know I am enjoying it!!
Get It Here
Other Poetic ‘E’ Reads
- Shel Silverstein’s Everything On It
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is about books I would throw into the ocean. I am sure I have books I have not finished or books I simply read through the end hoping they will get better, but that did not happen. But I am not sure if I have truly felt I would throw them into the ocean. So instead here is my twist on the theme. Books featuring the ocean, in one way or the other!!
- Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
- Haroun and the Sea of Stories
- If You Take Away the Otter
- Life of Pi
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins
- Ocean Speaks: Marie Tharp and the Map That Moved the Earth
- Old Man of the Sea
- Rivers : A Visual History from River to Sea by Peter Goes
- The Twenty-One Balloons
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, as always, and always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions, as well as recommendations. Have you read the featured books or any similar reads? And did you know about Enheduanna? If you have any similar cool things to share about poetry, do let me know.
The AtoZ Challenges
You can find all my A2Z Challenge Posts here.