At the end of April, Moroccan poet Rachida Madani and poet-translator Marilyn Hacker traveled around the UK reading from Hacker’s translation of Madani’s Tales of a Severed Head. Here, Madani and Hacker read at Poets & Players:
I still don’t have a copy, but according to publisher Yale University Press:
In Tales of a Severed Head, Madani addresses present-day issues surrounding the role of women in society—issues not unlike those explored a thousand years ago in the enduring collection of Arab tales known as The Thousand and One Nights.
…Madani’s modern-day Scheherazade is fighting for her own life as well as the lives of her fellow sufferers. But in today’s world, the threat comes as much from poverty, official corruption, the abuse of human rights, and the lingering effects of colonialism as from the power wielded by individual men. Madani weaves a tale of contemporary resistance, and once again language provides a potent weapon.
Madani’s work is also featured in the recent Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of North African Literature, ed. Pierre Joris & Habib Tengour. They quote her as saying, on writing, “I love to savor my words, especially when I find the one I need in the place it needs to be” and “To shut up is not fair.”
The Majalla: A Tale of Two Poets
Jadaliyya: Five Poems from The First Tale
Asymptote: The Second Tale
Guernica: The Second Tale: XV
Words Without Borders: XXIII
Commentary and reviews:
The Paris Review: Robyn Creswell on Tales of a Severed Head
The YUP Blog: Rachida Madani’s Tales of a Severed Head