Hassan El Ouazzani and the 1990s generation



The literary scene in Morocco has undergone tremendous transformations since the early 1960s. This is due not only to the great changes in Morocco since the declaration of its independence in 1956, but also to people’s awareness of their own cultural variety, and their exploitation of such variety on many levels, including poetry. Morocco’s openness to different cultures, especially French, Spanish and English, has widened the scope and range of Moroccan poets’ experiences, and placed these poets at the heart of  universal cultural concerns.

The ‘new’ generation of Moroccan poets — or what has sometimes been called the “prose poem generation” — is, of all generations, the one that has effected the greatest revolution in Moroccan poetry, and Moroccan literature in general. It is a generation that belongs to the 1990s in particular, in that most of its poets published many of their poems during that important decade. The 1990s was also the decade of urgent critical poetic questions concerning form, content and paradigm shift. Such questions, besides governing the new aesthetics and poetics of writing, were approached theoretically in new poetry magazines created by this new generation of poets. As examples of these magazines we can cite Israf 2000, Aswat Mou’asira and al Ghara, among others.

In the present issue we introduce a representative poet of this generation: Hassan El Ouazzani. He is an interesting poet not only for the amazingly innovative aspects of his own poetry, but also because he is a dynamic poetry critic who through his interviews and critical publications has helped shape the new poetic sensibility in Morocco. He is looked up to by most young poets as one of the leaders of the 1990s “prose poem movement”. In fact, since his official appointment in the ministry of culture as head of the department of new publications, many young people concerned with literature have looked to him to invigorate the literary scene in Morocco, and lend it momentum and youth.

© Norddine Zouitni  
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