from the “Diwan Ifrikiya” anthology: Malika al-Assimi

Working on the Maghrebi anthology, a strong discovery for me was the Moroccan poet Malika al-Assimi. Here is the commentary we wrote for her followed by two poems: Malika al-Assimi, a poet, writer and teacher, also actively involved in politics, has fought discrimination against women, especially in public service, all of her life. Though she lost her first electoral bid to represent her Marrakech district in the Moroccan parliament, … Read more from the “Diwan Ifrikiya” anthology: Malika al-Assimi

Mehdi Akhrif: Half a Line

I have been way too busy, travelling for all the wrong reasons, teaching & trying to get the anthology of Maghrebian Writing I’m doing with Habib Tengour ready to send to the publisher in time, to be able to concentrate on this blog — except for announcements of this or that order. What I do want to do over the next month or so, is to post some of … Read more Mehdi Akhrif: Half a Line

Paul Bowles @ 100

Paul Bowles was born today, 30 December, 100 years ago. Composer, poet, novelist, short story & travel memoir writer, translator, Bowles was a core figure of the 20th century nomad — expatriate as they said back then — community. Having settled in Tangier after 1947 he became what the Tunisian writer Albert Memmi called “an immobile nomad.” But few writers have better described the fate of the modern tourist … Read more Paul Bowles @ 100

Nomadic Nomadics

Arrived in Mostaganem, Algeria tonight for a 2 day conference on translation organized by the Amazigh  (i.e. Berber) High Authority at the University here. Thus, with apologies, no postings for the last 3 days as I was traveling from NYC to Luxembourg via Amsterdam for 24 hours in the bosom of the family, then on to Paris for a night at friends & the plane to Oran this afternoon … Read more Nomadic Nomadics

Tengour Talks to a Scorpion, No, the Other way Around

Quiet weekend working on translations, specifically on the Habib Tengour Reader, scheduled for publication late this year or early next from Black Widow Press. Here is an extract from the prose narrative L’épreuve de l’arc (The Ordeal of the Bow) originally published by Sindbad in Paris in 1990. (…) I wasn’t dreaming. No, I wasn’t dreaming at all. It was indeed a scorpion the size of a lobster. A … Read more Tengour Talks to a Scorpion, No, the Other way Around

The scramble for Timbuktu & the Oldest Library South of the Sahara

From this week’s edition of signandsight, the opening paragraphs of an essay/reportage by Charlotte Wiedemann. The full piece is here : Scenes from the race for influence over Africa’s ancient written culture. The evening light throws pink feathers across the sky. A herd of goats sends dust spiralling into the air and as it settles, a sand-coloured twilight descends on the sand-coloured city. In front of the mud construction … Read more The scramble for Timbuktu & the Oldest Library South of the Sahara

Three by Dib

Took the first volume of the Algerian writer Mohammed Dib’s  Collected Works (which consists of the Collected Poems, edited and presented by Habib Tengour — as published in 2007 by Editions de la Différence)  from the shelves this morning, and began to read. Then stopped reading after the opening 3 poems — from the first volume, Ombre Gardienne, originally  published in 1961. Couldn’t resist trying to translate them — … Read more Three by Dib

Abdellatif Laâbi Wins 2009 Goncourt Poetry Prize

In early December, the yearly “Prix Goncourt” for poetry given by the members of the Goncourt Academy to a francophone poet was awarded to the Moroccan poet Abdellatif Laâbi — which is excellent news, as Laâbi is no doubt the major francophone Moroccan poet at work today.  Check out his site here, and the site of Souffles, the major Maghrebian  literary, cultural & political avant-garde magazine of the late … Read more Abdellatif Laâbi Wins 2009 Goncourt Poetry Prize

That Old New British Poetry Scene

Came across an interesting piece by Kent Johnson on the new British Poetry scene on the digital emunction site — with the discussion that follows as interesting as what started it. At the same time it gave me a certain sense of déjà-vu, as if the US (& other places too) always-already-again had to (re)discover only to immediately forget the fact that excellent, experimental, avant, post-avant — or whatever … Read more That Old New British Poetry Scene