On the way: 'Poems for the Millennium, volume 4,' The University of California Book of North African Literature

[Edging toward two decades since the first publication of Poems for the Millennium in 1995, the University of California Press will shortly be publishing volume 4, both expanding & concentrating the focus into a 2000-year (two-millennium) mapping of Maghrebian (North African) literature with a range similar to what Pierre Joris and I were able to give to modern & postmodern poetry in volumes 1 and 2, and Jeffrey Robinson and I to romantic & postromantic poetry in volume 3. In any event the goal of the series remains to promote an open-ended gathering that will hopefully continue to develop & change over time. Joris’s collaboration here with Habib Tengour is nothing short of masterful; together they have composed a true Diwan Afrikiya. (J.R.)]

The University of California Press announces the book as follows:

In this fourth volume of the landmark Poems for the Millennium series, Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour present a comprehensive anthology of the written and oral literatures of the Maghreb, the region of North Africa that spans the modern nation states of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania, and including a section on the influential Arabo-Berber and Jewish literary culture of Al-Andalus, which flourished in Spain between the ninth and fifteenth centuries. Beginning with the earliest pictograms and rock drawings and ending with the work of the current generation of post-independence and diasporic writers, this volume takes in a range of cultures and voices, including Berber, Phoenician, Jewish, Roman, Vandal, Arab, Ottoman, and French. Though concentrating on oral and written poetry and narratives, the book also draws on historical and geographical treatises, philosophical and esoteric traditions, song lyrics, and current prose experiments. These selections are arranged in five chronological “diwans” or chapters, which are interrupted by a series of “books” that supply extra detail, giving context or covering specific cultural areas in concentrated fashion. The selections are contextualized by a general introduction that situates the importance of this little-known culture area and individual commentaries for nearly each author.

[Scheduled publication date: November 2012.]