Ashur Etwebi: “Suns on a Stone”

As Libya frees herself, here is a poem  by Libyan poet Ashur Etwebi, who said (in 2008): “An active world of literature and poetry has developed in Libya over the past thirty years. Little is known about this in Europe because to the West, Libya did not exist on the world map until recently.” Time has come to change this. SUNS ON A STONE by the sea by the … Read more Ashur Etwebi: “Suns on a Stone”

from the “Diwan Ifrikiya” anthology: Salah Garmadi

Salah Garmadi (1933 – 1982) OUR ANCESTORS THE BEDUINS they are here no one can deny them no slogan can efface them they are the inherited majority depth coiled in maghrebian palms leaves untamable root the Moroccans still keep watch over the Tunisian street the Tunisians still fry doughnuts for the children of Bejaïa in Constantine a man of the people offered a sheep’s head and declared we are one … Read more from the “Diwan Ifrikiya” anthology: Salah Garmadi

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

Translations of Maghrebian Poets

Two of my translations of work by Maghrebian poets have just come out: — Habib Tengour’s “Ordeal2” in the third issue of Cerise magazine — — An extract of Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s Moi l’aigre in the Brooklyn Rail’s intranslation section —

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