Abdel-ilah Salhi was born in 1968 in Beni Mellal, Morocco, but spent most of his childhood and adolescence in El Jadida where he completed his education in 1990. He began writing and publishing poetry when he was still a university student, and managed at that early age to tie strong relations with most of the representatives of the “new poetry” generation in Morocco.
When he got his B.A degree in English in 1990, he moved to Bordeaux, France, to pursue his postgraduate studies in English literature. There, he seized the opportunity to explore the French literary scene and acquaint himself with modern Arab literature in exile; many Arab expatriate writers were living in France. He made the acquaintance of Iraqi poet Abdelkader Al Janabi, and through him frequented the Arab surrealist circle in Paris. This inspired him to establish his own literary magazine Israf (excess), the first issues of which had a great impact on the promotion of the prose poem and the surrealist tendency in Morocco. Since 1987, Salhi has been published widely in several magazines. Two collections of his poems, one in French and the other in Arabic will be published shortly.
Although the poetry of Abdel-ilah Salhi has varied extensively over the past years, it has kept some of its main characteristics, such as the celebration of everyday experience, the tone of humor which turns desperate situations into brilliant poetic moments, and the narrative tendency which dominates most of his poems. Indeed, Salhi is a brilliant storyteller whose friendship and hospitality are highly recommended. He is considered by many as the mouthpiece of the Moroccan “new poetry” in France, and Europe as a whole.
Salhi earns his living as a journalist and radio correspondent in France.