Two thousand and eleven, when palm trees without numberRustled, shading tomatoes and cucumbersAll around Timbuktu,And mental trees, planted by the town council,Offered orchards to every studious sibylAnd to sleepers too! This is the opening stanza of “The Orchards of Timbuktu” by Jean-Paul de Dadelsen, translated from the French by Marilyn
I am no one in Shehriyar’s city I am nothing. But I have words… These lines from Moroccan poet Rachida Madani‘s moving collection of poems, Tales of a Severed Head, translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker, reveal the essence of her literary endeavor
The opening lines of Hédi Kaddour’s poem “New Wine” create the colorful, tangible atmosphere characteristic of his work. Employing surprising descriptions of his everyday world, the narrator of each poem in Kaddour’s collection Treason, translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker, pulls the reader into an environment which is both entirely new and familiar.