Poetry | Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine, translated by Conor Bracken | September 2019
* Release Date September 10, 2019 *
Praise for Scorpionic Sun:
Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s poems speak from 1969 to the present with urgency, through an explosively anachronistic act of translation by Conor Bracken. As Khaïr-Eddine writes in “Black Nausea,” the poems “offer to the future this weird / fruit / which speaks in the mouths / of the thousands of innocents dead / in our black blood.” The distortive energies of Khaïr-Eddine’s “linguistic guerilla war” agitate for a politically convulsive poetry that dares to be strange, spastic and abjectly sublime. This is a return of a political surrealism when its convulsive bloom is most needed.
No, decolonizing is not a metaphor, but it is a proposal emerging from the place where land and consciousness meet. To get closer to that place Khaïr-Eddine’s Scorpionic Sun resists any nation state—or any reader—who would take up land or consciousness, song or bodies as mere instruments. Wisely, then, Conor Bracken’s translation doesn’t so much use as it delivers English into the brutal ongoingness of what Teresa Villa-Ignacio has called Khaïr-Eddine’s “seismic line.” Thus thoroughly shaken and gone we can find one another “by a necessary association with events to come.”
Khaïr-Eddine grabbed hold of the French language with a violent passion; he loved it ferociously, without concession, without moderation. Along with Kateb Yacine and Aimé Césaire, it is he who has done the most to rattle and enrich the language.
—Tahar Ben Jelloun, Le Monde
Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine (1941–1995) was an Amazigh Moroccan poet and writer. In the 1960s, he established the Poésie Toute movement and co-founded the avant-garde journal Souffles.
Conor Bracken is a poet, translator, and assistant professor of English at the University of Findlay.