The Shutters (Paperback)
New Directions Publishing Corporation, 9780811227841, 172pp.
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
List Price: 18.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
In this collection of prose, prose poems, and verse, The Shutters reconstructs vivid scenes of Morocco and its history, weaving and winding through antiquity, myth, and a fictional present; through cemeteries, battlefields, and sordid streets; through heaven and hell, the sky and the earth, and the shutters of his ancestor's home. Bouanani's poetry contains a vast inventory of references to the Second World War, the Rif War, the Spanish and French protectorates, dead soldiers, prisoners, and poets screaming in their tombs with mouths full of dirt--all of it bearing the brutal imprint of colonization, written in an imposed language with a "strange alphabet." But what is perhaps most palpable in his writing is the violence inflicted on Morocco by its own government during the time period now referred to as les ann es de plomb--the years of lead. Fighting against the destruction of Moroccan cultural memory, Bouanani claws back through this forgotten landscape, plunging into the void to bring forth a heritage that was suppressed but not annihilated. In his words, "These memories retrace the seasons of a country that was quickly forgetful of its past, indifferent to its present, constantly turning its back on its future." Bouanani was hesitant to publish much of his work during his lifetime, leaving behind chests full of hundreds of unpublished manuscripts when he died. All nearly lost in a devastating apartment fire, Bouanani's works are now finally appearing for the first time in English.