Browse through Abdellatif Laâbi’s poems and quotes. 12 poems of Abdellatif Laâbi. Still I Rise, The Road Not Taken, If You Forget Me, Dreams, Stopping By. Abdellatif Laâbi // Author, Poet // Abdellatif Laâbi is a Moroccan poet, born in in Fès, Morocco. Laâbi founded with other poets the artistic journal Souffles in. Abdellatif Laâbi is a poet, novelist, playwright, translator and political activist. He was born in Fez, Morocco in In the s, Laâbi was the founding editor.

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Born in Fez inhe co-founded the poetry review Souffles in He was released inand five years later he moved to France where he has resided ever since. Despite his self-imposed exile, he has continued to be politically engaged in Moroccan public life, spending significant time there each year.

In the past two years, he has written two books about politics and lqabi in Morocco: Morocco, What Democratic Alabi A novelist, poet, and playwright, he has also translated several Arabic poets into French, most notably Mahmoud Darwish.

The Bottom of adbellatif Jarwhich has just been published in English translation, describes your childhood, and in various other books and articles you have written about your imprisonment in Morocco and then exile in France. Yes, that abdel,atif in I had started writing and publishing in several literary magazines, here in France, and also in Moroccan reviews.

And they also published in the automobile magazine of Casablanca. That gives you an idea of the limited options at the time when it came to literary reviews. So we met—or rather—I was curious enough to seek them out, and at the same time we met a group of painters in Casablanca: So that was the group we started with.

So they all arrived with a diverse set of perspectives and skill sets, abdellaatif, furthermore, they were on that lzabi quest for modernity that we poets were on. It was Mostafa Nissaboury more than anyone else who accompanied the review the longest—almost to its very end. After working in Agadir in the aftermath of the earthquake he left for Casablanca, where he wrote Agadirhis first novel.

The walls of Fez are still standing after all. Do you agree that type of wisdom is being lost?

lzabi And, if so, what does it consist of? In The Bottom of the Jar, I recount several years of my childhood, from the age of 7 or 8 until the struggle for Moroccan independence in and I have from time to time reflected on how I ended up writing. What pushed me to write? What abdfllatif the trigger? More and more, the image of my mother imposes itself on me, because she was a woman who had a rich language, full of images, and a abdelltif sense of humor.

She was often angry at her condition, and it was by listening to her speak that perhaps—and I say perhaps—the desire to write was born in me. So, there is this homage, of course, to that woman who had 11 children—three of whom died—so abdeplatif children: The ten of us lived abdellatuf a small house of two rooms. My father was a simple craftsman who worked his entire life. My mother lxabi for us her entire life. It seemed they were almost slaves in our service, so that we could eat, so that we could be clothed, and so that we could go to school.


All of that touches me very deeply—to see a man and a woman at that moment in time, in their alabi, illiterate—who spent their entire life for us.

Something that struck me while reading your autobiography was that your first encounter with the French language was via an Algerian teacher of French, Mr. Do you know what happened to him afterward? Did he return to Algeria? Did he fight in the Algerian war of independence? Did he emigrate to France?

No, not at all. In fact, during the colonial period, there were a great many Algerians who came to Morocco because they were translators for the French colonial administration or they taught. Already in Algeria there was a Frenchified elite because the colonization there dated fromwhereas in Morocco it was much more recent. I spoke English well until my high school graduation.

Occasionally he asked me for small clarifications, but the translation was his own work, which, according to many of my Anglophone friends, is excellent. Which Moroccan writers deserve a wider readership in the English-speaking world?

That is, which Moroccan writers who have not yet been translated into English deserve translation? I find that in other countries, for example, in Spain or even in Germany, there is a much greater interest. In the United States translation of national literatures remains rather limited in comparison to what is translated in France or in other countries like the Netherlands or even in Turkey. There are many Moroccan writers who deserve translation.

We have some great poets for example. There would be a couple dozen agdellatif.

Abdellatif Laâbi – Team – bauhaus imaginista

Poets like Mostafa Nissaboury. I compiled an anthology of Moroccan poetry about ten years ago that comprised texts by 50 Moroccan poets. That book could give an idea, at least when it comes to poetry. Another question that is often posed to you is that of your decision to write in French. Your typical response is that it is a complicated issue.

You mention Salman Rushdie, whose mother tongue is Urdu but who writes in English. Personally I believe the question has become a little absurd. Today abdellatid is a globalization of literature. And furthermore, we can pose the same question to any good reader of literature. In his or her reading, 80 percent of the books are probably translations. The language in which a writer writes is one which he chooses voluntarily.

In North Africa, because of the French colonial presence, there were three generations of Algerian, Tunisian, and Moroccan writers who wrote in French.

What is important is not the language in which they write abdellafif what they do with that language, how they work with the French language. Does their mother tongue disappear the moment they write? What must be done with these writers is to see how the different linguistic registers are molded into their writing. I completely agree with you. laabi

Abdellatif Laabi – Wikipedia

For me though, my abeellatif tongue is the same language used in media and in education. One of the concerns of The Bottom of the Jar is a linguistic concern. In that book I tried to perfectly map the French language onto the Arabic language, without it becoming a bastard abdelpatif. I began my studies as a medievalist, and one of the key moments in medieval literature is an essay by Dante entitled Du vulgari eloquentia On the Eloquence of the Common Tongue in which he advocates the use of Italian in place of Latin, which was used at that time for religion, education, etc.


And something I wondered when I was in Morocco was whether there will be a moment like that for Darija the Moroccan dialect lzabi Arabic. I know that there are poets and writers that have already begun this work, but do you find that Moroccan Arabic has already undergone abdellatf pivotal moment that Italian experienced with Dante or abdellstif we still waiting for it? Abdellatjf believe we are still a long way off. What lzabi the issue? That is the fundamental concern.

And yet there is an ideological discourse surrounding the languages: We must prepare them so that they truly become languages of creation, of teaching, of scientific research, and of communication at the same time.

And yet this work has not been done since Moroccan independence. Instead of telling ourselves, okay, we have to prepare these languages, first the three national languages I already mentioned Darija, Classical Arabic and Amazigh.

We must prepare them so that they can become languages where we express ourselves, we have the same means as someone who uses Spanish, Italian, and English. That right there is the real issue.

I personally believe that we have to prepare the ground. And yet a part of the language is in the process of disappearing, because there is a new Darija. You know, because you lived in Morocco.

You see how we absurdly mix French and Arabic. Same thing for Amazigh, which is inscribed in the constitution xbdellatif a national language, but which suffers from the same problems as Darija. Same thing for Classical Arabic, which does not even have an etymological dictionary for example.

Abdellatif Laabi

I think this is a good moment to speak a little about your recent book Un autre Maroc Another Morocco and your political engagement. When I was in Morocco, an article of yours was published in the magazine TelQuel where you put forth certain theses for Morocco. Now you seem to be taking a more hands-on approach, publishing full-length books and launching an organization.

I personally assert the right of intellectuals to have opinions about politics and to defend them, without being inserted in a political party or in some sort of organization. The political class in Morocco, as in many other countries, even in advanced democracies, has lost a great deal of credibility. And yet the intellectual has an opportunity to keep his freedom of speech, to say truthfully what he thinks.

The intellectual is not required to be in the consensus. I understand that well. But you have also just stated that Darija and Amazigh need to be developed. And for that it requires an educational system in place. Yes, a political project is required, of course. Because Lazbi consider that we have spoken too long of democracy—the vocabulary and the lexicon. You, who have lived in Morocco for a long time, have no doubt remarked that the political class, the mixture of tendencies—right and left—has mastered the lexicon of democracy, of transparency, of good governance, of human rights, etc.

Personally, I think that in Morocco we are not yet in qbdellatif.