Original Artwork by
Bouchta El Hayani
ISBN: 978-1-944884-35-2 (pbk)
100 Pages: $16.00
Note: The original interior images by Bouchta El Hayani from the French edition (Virgule Editions) are reproduced below.
From the Foreword by Peter Thompson:
Can a poem (or a book—for this is a book-length poem) be topical and at the same time make you lose your bearings? Can it refer to current events and also entertain its own event—the unpredictable reactions in its own crucible? No mistake: Loakira’s poem is about Arab Spring. But the power of his images shifts the reader from the uneasy Maghreb cities and onto another scene: the breaking and making, the revolts and improbable successes of poetry.
If you have lived through the tensions of Arab Spring, if your king has made adjustments (2011) to the Constitution—thus avoiding full-scale unrest—and if you’ve seen the insurgents and the café-bombs over the years, along with the repressions, how much do you owe to the topic (you the writer who deals with truth), and how much do you owe to the poetry that inheres in raw and visionary revolt? With Loakira both axes are operative, but the plain facts of Arab Spring act on us only to the extent that we are informed. His primary avenue to the truth of this era is instead metaphorical allusion—even while that allusion is crafted from the plain facts.
Here metaphor is the operation that de-centers the reader. Thus the reader who expects a clear lens on Arab Spring is asked to find a new center (or some kind of new middle) of meaning and emotion. This is a middle which is neither of the poles which spark metaphor between them.
You will learn more from this slim but masterfully crafted volume about the so-called Arab Spring than from most political commentary. Loakira probes the sorrowful Arab predicament in the wake of the Tunisian revolution—set ablaze by the self-immolation M. Bouazizi—with unnerving honesty, dark humor, and rare insight. As suggested by the title, … et se voile le printemps, Loakira screams out his disenchantment, in a limpid and sumptuous language, however without resentment or self-righteousness. Just the promise of another (Arab) spring deferred. A poetic tour de force. And in Peter Thompson, Loakira found his best interpreter in the English language.
—Prof. Hèdi Jaouad, Editor, CELAAN Review
The writing tackled by Loakira in this new poem shows the strain of a double telling: a telling that finally accepts the limits of the art of writing, and consents to the lucid refusals of the real.
–Rachid Khaless, poet, editor, translator
Original interior images by Bouchta El Hayani from the French edition (Virgule Editions) are reproduced below. These images are included in the book in black & white.