The Silk Road Anthology: Nano Poems for Africa


By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid
President, Asia Journalists Association

CAIRO: Nano is a combining form with the meaning “very small or minute,” used in the formation of compound words; so (nano-poems) means very short poems.

Short poems have been written in different forms, under the umbrella of varied names. For example, the haiku is a Japanese poetic form that consists of three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. The haiku developed from the hokku, the opening three lines of a longer poem known as a tanka. The haiku became a separate form of poetry in the 17th century.

Some of the most famous short poems in history are written with quatrains, or four-line groupings.  Omar Khayyám’s quatrains are the well-known example of this form, reminding us with the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his 1859 translation from Persian to English of a selection of quatrains attributed to Omar Khayyam.


As I call world poets to submit their “Nano Poems for Africa”, to join the new 2023 Anthology of the Silk Road Literature Series, poems which bring the five senses; with the poetic vocabulary of Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch, are the best choice.

This will enable us to include as many as it could be of participants. I request you to send (One) nano poem to Africa, with 99 words biography and a portrait. Deadline is December 31, 2022.

The previous themes of the Anthology Editions were “Asia Sings”, “Mediterranean Waves”, Ancient Egyptians, Modern Poets”, and “Arabian Nights, World Poems”. The Anthology has been seeking bridging ideas and creative people.

This project will be a part of World Poetry Movement -Egypt activities.


Being a member of PAWA (Pan-African Writers Association) the chance will be given to follow the multi-language submission of poems and poets’ biographies. In the previous edition of the Silk Road Anthology there were more than 20 languages chosen by 155 poets from 40 countries.

I am targeting all African poets from 54 countries to join Nano Poems for Africa – the Silk Road Anthology.

Kindly send poems, bios and portraits to Editor:

Ashraf Aboul-Yazid


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