In Praise of Defeat (Paperback)

By Abdellatif Laaabi, Donald Nicholson-Smith (Translator)

Archipelago Books, 9780914671596, 800pp.

Publication Date: January 17, 2017



One of the central writers and thinkers in contemporary Maghreb letters and banned by the Moroccan government, Abdellatif Laabi's poetry is increasingly influential on the international scene and spans six decades of political and literary change, innovation, and struggle. Including a wide range of work, from piercing domestic love poetry to a fierce lyricism of social resistance informed by nearly a decade spent in prison for "crimes of opinion," all of Laabi's poetry is situated firmly against tyranny and for life--an almost mythic sense of spiritual and earthly joy emanates from this resistance through the darkness of political oppression. This selection of poetry has been masterfully rendered into English for the first time by Donald Nicholson-Smith and introduced by the eminent poet and critic Pierre Joris--the first in translation to be chosen by Laabi himself.

About the Author

Abdellatif Laabi is regarded as one of the most important contemporary Moroccan writers, publishing many volumes of poetry, as well as several novels and plays since the late 1960s. Laabi has consistently criticized the authoritarian and theocratic regimes of the Maghreb with an outspoken incisiveness that has led to the closure of his seminal literary journal Souffles as well as his eight-year imprisonment from 1972-1981. His work has been banned and marginalized by the Moroccan government, however Laabi's writings have been increasingly visible and influential on the international scene. During Laabi's imprisonment his cause was championed by Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, and he was awarded the Prix de la Liberte, PEN Club, and the Prix International de Poesie.