Saw a feminist Moroccan poet give a reading in Harlem.

April 16th, 2014, 7pm

I covered a poetry reading last night at Silvana, a Middle Eastern bar in Harlem. Rachida Madani, a Moroccan poet, was making the first stop on her American book tour for her collection Tales of a Severed Head— a feminist remix of One Thousand and One Nights.

Later, squatting on the floor near her table in the bar’s blue light as the next live band set up, I interviewed her on her work.

Il y a un lien entre les femmes,” she said. There’s a connection among women.

“My poetry isn’t just about Moroccan women. It’s about the female condition in general.”

This line from a poem in Tales of a Severed Head sticks with me:

She watches the ocean

she would like to hurl herself into the ocean

to drink up the ocean.

But suddenly all her tattoos

return to set themselves in place

and they all begin to speak at once.

All at once she finds

the green and blue legends

inscribed on her flesh.

Now she is standing facing the backwash

her eyes are dry

her mouth is a fold.

Now she leaves the cliff

and goes away…

Now she goes toward her own justice.

(Rachida Madani, Tales of a Severed Head, 2012, Yale University Press)

Samantha, David Wade, Christine and Sanna said thanks.

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Annie Massa

I'm a journalist. I like denim, early mornings and hot sauce.

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