This anthology of Moroccan poetry by over seventy contemporary poets presents a significant contribution to the field of Moroccan literature in translation and will appeal to readers with an interest in Arabic poetry in general and the Moroccan dialect in particular.
Poetic Justice is the first anthology of contemporary Moroccan poetry in English. The work is primarily composed of poets who began writing after Moroccan independence in 1956 and includes work written in Moroccan Arabic (darija), classical Arabic, French, and Tamazight.
Why Poetic Justice? Moroccan poetry (and especially zajal, oral poetry now written in Moroccan Arabic) is often published in newspapers and journals and is thus a vibrant form of social commentary; what’s more, there is a law, a justice, in the aesthetic act that speaks back to the law of the land. Poetic Justice because literature has the power to shape the cultural and moral imagination in profound and just ways.
Reading this oeuvre from independence until the new millennium and beyond, it is clear that what poet Driss Mesnaoui calls the “letters of time” have long been in the hands of Moroccan poets, as they write their ethics, their aesthetics, as well as their gendered and political lives into poetic being.