Sunday, September 25, 2011

Moroccan Poets Unite with the World

Thirty-five poets, musicians and keen listeners turned out for the 100,000 Poets for Change event yesterday afternoon. Held at Cafe Clock, it was one of many affiliated events world-wide on the same day.  - Suzanna Clarke reports.

Fez poet Ahmed El Inani reads his work
 The aim was to encourage people to "slow down, think, listen and feel more deeply," according to poet Fatima Bouhraka, President of the Moroccan House of Poetry Association.

Fatima Bouhraka reading
 One of the event organisers, Mustafa Bokkoli Ferchokhi, said that the Fez event was one of two in Morocco, with the other occurring in Agadir. "Our main purpose is to re-direct social and political discourse - to sensitise people to social issues such as poverty. The world has always been changed by language. We hope (with events such as this), we can bring about increased awareness."

Event organiser Mustafa Bokkoli Ferchokhi
 While most poets were from Fez, some had travelled from far to share their work, giving readings in Darija and French. There were even a couple of poems in English.

Kacem Loubay from Kenitra, winner of this year's Naji Naaman Literary Prize, said that "to be a poet is to feel like an exile - it is important to try and connect with the wider community."

Said Abdelhadi, from Rabat, said that "poets have always articulated the desire for freedom. Words can make a difference".

Between readings, participants and listeners - many of whom were aspiring writers - enjoyed traditional Moroccan music and sipped on orange juice and other refreshments, provided courtesy of the American Language Center.

The View From Fez team was represented in the poetry readings by Sandy McCutcheon, who read a poem he had composed while walking to the event. It included the lines:

My poems are refugees from literature...
My poems bleed onto paper
White as a winding sheet for the dead
My poems feed on one word
That word is hope.

Photographs: Suzanna Clarke

1 comment:

Tea said...

I am a California poet & printer interested in meeting Moroccan poets and am planning a trip to Fez in 2012. I would like to get in touch with Fatima Bouthraka or the Moroccan House of Poetry Association and am hoping you can help me. Thank you, Theresa Whitehill