Beyond the Barbed Wire
Author: Abdellatif Laâbi
Translator: André Naffis-Sahely
Original language: French
Published by: Carcanet Press, July 2016
Beyond the Barbed Wire is a selection of work by Morocco’s greatest living poet. This volume gives a career-spanning overview of Laâbi’s poetry, from the late 1960s to the 2010s. It includes a generous selection of the prison-writings of the 1970s, poems that speak from ‘beyond the borders of what is human’, as the poet writes, a hinterland of physical and emotional torture, in which hunger strikes are ‘the only weapon we’ve left’.
Beyond the Barbed Wire gives testament to the human need to speak in the face of censorship, that ‘epic of silence’. The book includes an interview with the poet in which he discusses his practice, his views on education, his beliefs about a poet’s duty, the influence of his parents, and his optimism. With Laâbi’s renewed prominence in the Moroccan intellectual scene following the Arab Spring, and with a new generation of artists and activists looking to him as a source of inspiration, this book shows why Laâbi is not only Morocco’s leading poet but also a guiding cultural and political force.