While thinking of the present issue of Moroccan poetry I called to mind Wallace Stevens’ words: “The wonder and mystery of art . . . is the revelation of something ‘wholly other’ by which the inexpressible loneliness of thinking is broken and enriched”.
The sudden remembrance of these insightful words resulted from my own recent survey of Moroccan poetry, a process I go through every time I am selecting material for a new issue. Indeed, I came to realize that the real history of Moroccan poetry, like that of any real poetry in the world, is governed by the incessant search for that which is “wholly other”, that which contains the present, yet exceeds it, and is different from it. This is what makes the greatness and peculiarity of each age or generation or decade, for sameness in poetry is decline and death.
My choice of the two poets of the present issue, Boujema El Aoufi and Mohamed Bachkar, was strongly influenced by this insight. As a matter of fact these two poets are very different from each other; yet seem to share at least two common characteristics. Firstly, they both belong to the “New Poetry” movement, which started in Morocco in the mid-eighties. Secondly, they share a particular poetic restlessness which seems to originate in their urgent desire to express that which is “wholly other”, irredeemably out of reach. Both, thus, manifest a certain dissatisfaction with words. The result of this is that although both have succceded in producing very good “New poetry”, they somehow remain outside the mainstream “New Poetry” movement. This very striking difference reveals their strong commitment to the act of writing, and their deep visionary sense of the future.
The two poets chosen for this issue are also very active as intellectuals and art critics. Both are considered intellectuals who contribute in a discreet but organic and substantial way to the shaping of the intellectual, artistic, and literary awareness in post-millenium Morocco.