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).
When the gospel garage-rock we had so tolerantly been appreciating came to an abrupt end, Lon Solomon's face appeared like the Wizard of Oz on shining silver screens. A shiver ran down my spine and kept running as his dark mouth opened wide around words like "trustworthiness" and "veracity".