A recent issue of the pan-African literary magazine Chimurenga reminded us that "The Sahara is Not a Boundary." The 4th volume of the Poems for the Millennium project, on North African poetry, is one marvelous collection of work. This week the African poetry commentary series roars back to life with a wonderful guest post by scholar and translator Brahim El Guabli introducing one of Tunisia's most daring poets, Mohamed Saghir Ouled Ahmed. If Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour have whetted your appetite, here's a chance to discover another voice from the Maghreb.
Poetics of Sedition in the Maghreb: Mohamed Sghir Ouled Ahmed
Mohamed Saghir Ouled Ahmed (b. 1955) is probably Tunisia's most prominent Arabic poet today. His birth in the southern city of Sidi Bouzid, which was the breeding ground of the December 2010 Tunisian Revolution, further consecrated his status as Tunisia's contemporary, “conscience of the nation.” During his long career, which he began at the age of fourteen, Ouled Ahmed produced at least five collections of poetry: The Rhapsody of the Six Days (1988), But I Am Ahmad (1989), I Have No Problem (1989), The South of the Water (1991) and The Will (2000).
If you've heard of Noemi Press, you're in good company! They answered my questions eagerly, and here are the details. If you're so inclined, after reading this, you can find their books online at http://www.noemipress.org. Read on to find out more!
a. How did Noemi get its start, and who was behind it?
From what I understand, Noemi was birthed in 2002 in the New Mexican desert, from necessity and inspiration. Carmen Giménez-Smith and Evan Lavender-Smith are our founders, with a generous & exciting board behind them.
Discussions of the Irish poetry avant-garde, or avant-garde poetry from Ireland, or avant-garde poetry produced in Ireland, tend to focus on a lineage that begins with the quartet of Samuel Beckett, Brian Coffey, Thomas MacGreevy, and Denis Devlin, before continuing with Michael Smith’s New Writers Press and Trevor Joyce, Randolph Healy, Maurice Scully, Billy Mills, and Catherine Walsh.
In the essay “The Conspiracy of Us” (first published in 1979, in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E),Charles Bernstein anticipated a key driver of the iterative turn in contemporary poetry when he described his anxiety about collective identity and action and argued for the revolutionary power of poetry to disrupt the certainty of our collective positions.
After a while, Allen Ginsberg enjoyed doing just about everything else but cigarette smoking. And he had the politics to support this one eventual self-prohibition, best expressed in his song called "Don't Smoke (Put Down Your Cigarette Rag)." Here is a RealAudio version of the recording, and here is an MP3 version. It's a 9 billion dollar capitalist joke.