Today is the birthday of the great Moroccan poet Mostafa Nissabouri. Here, the little commentary we published to accompany his work in Habib Tengour’s & my North African — Poems for the Millennium anthology: “Born in 1943, Mostafa Nissabouri is a core representative of contemporary francophone Moroccan poetry, co-founder — with Abdellatif Laâbi & Mohamed Khair-Eddine — of the great avant-garde 1960s magazine Souffles, & was later editor of Intégral. Writes James Kirkup: “His language, French, is both classical in its vocabulary and surreal in its style and in the play of its images. Mixed in among concrete and abstract terms, one finds specialized vocabularies belonging to botany, oceanography, geography and medicine… The violent uprushes of his sonorous French remind me of the improvisations of the tellers of tales on the public squares of Fez and Marrakech.” Nissabouri has published a number of volumes of poetry, most recently Approche du désertique (Al Manar, 1997 & 1998) & earlier three major collections: La mille et deuxième nuit, Rupture & Aube. He himself has said of his approach to writing: “I don’t write for, I write against… I remain strongly convinced that a true revolution is the result of the destruction of mental structures and consequently of those of language itself, the enemy # 1 of DESIRE.”
We hope that the copies of his first English book — For an Ineffable Metrics of the Desert, edited by Guy Bennett, translated by Guy, myself, Addie Leak & Teresa Villa-Ignacio, published by Otis Books & available from SPD — will have arrived in Casablanca for this day! Joyeux anniversaire, mon ami!
Here, an extract from the book, in my translation, from the book The Thousand and Second Night: