“Morocco has the same fingerprints, touch and nails that distinguish the poetry in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries." This is how Moroccan poet and media writer Youness Imghrane so eloquently describes the love and application of poetry in his native Morocco.
Imghrane says Arabic poetry is a continuous and interactive phenomenon, especially when evoking the nation's wants and basic freedoms, like social justice and the equal distribution of power - basic rights which thousands of people across the Arab world have been taking to the streets and fighting for since early last year.
But despite the nation’s love of this artistic expression, Imghrane says he has seen a notable deterioration in its popularity. So Arabstoday asked him how he saw the application of poetic expression in Morocco:
Arabstoday: How do you see the reality of the Moroccan poetry?
Youness Imghrane: Moroccan poetry has the same fingerprints, touches and nails that distinguish the poetry in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, United Arab Emirates and Arab countries. There may be difference in the way of dealing with this subject or theme between this country and the other, but the founding spirit of the text with its concerns, pains, joys, worries and ambitions remain the common element in Arabic poetry as a whole.
Moroccan poetry as a whole is open to dreams, fantasy and reality where its texts vary between the quality of the idea, the image and the expression, a blur that needs a little clarity and an exposed throw into the arms of strangeness, complexity and mysteriousness. But our Moroccan poets are not good at the marketing of their poetic product, nor do they succeed in luring the readers to their texts to question them or use them to enrich the readers' passion and human sentiments. In addition, the critical movement is slow in pursuing the Moroccan poetic creativity with its artistic and methodological tools.
AT: Do you think Arabic poetry had a part to play in the ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions?
YI: There is no doubt that poetry played, and still plays, an active role in the change and reform of our Arab societies. It's true that may be it doesn't have a direct influence in making a change, but one way or another it contributed to the success of the revolution in Egypt through strong poetic texts of Salah Abdel Sabour, Amal Donqol, Ahmed Fouad Negm and many others. Also Mohamed el Maghout, Mamdouh Adwan, Ahmed Matar, Niza Qabbani, Hassan El Omrani, Mohamed Ali El Rabbawy, Mohamed Emara and others who with their eagerness for freedom and justice signaled the emergence of another Arab world that we see today, which is more open, proud and tolerant.
Out of all the art genres, poetry has made room for change, reform and democracy. It is more potent and more able to influence and interact than novels and short stories.
AT: How much did the Arab Spring affect your poetry?
The same was all poet’s hearts and souls were effected by the Arab Spring – it gave us greater courage to express our demands and aspirations. We became more explicit in speaking about corruption, dictators and murderers. We believe the fundamental changes to which our Arab Nation is heading, politically and socially, will provide our poetry with a sort of chemical power and effectiveness in terms of rebellion.
AT: You will be releasing a book of poetry soon. What can you tell us about it?
YI: It's named 'Torments: From a Crazy Man’s Biography'. From my point of view, I discuss different social issues of a loving human being - loving to his homeland, his lover, his principles and his fellow man. It was not written to usual poetic form, as it is a compilation of poems that were either scribbled down on paper or published on electronic platforms. Some have never been read before. The book is the continuation of my emotional project that is committed to the values of human beauty, Divine love and cosmic social communication. But, no doubt, it will give me a new ability to meditate deeply about my emotional concerns, and express my wild desire to transform life into a spiritual experience that is superior everything materialistic or opportunistic.
In general, I hope my poetic product will transcends time and space and push the reader to reconsider the sentimental and emotional poetry that is rebellious to the superficiality and materialism of life.
AT: Women have presence in your poetry writings, but is it distinguished from other writing in the same subject?
YI: I always and still consider women the source or origin of life. They are the leafy shady tree, the source of love, tenderness, originality and ambition. But the question here is: does this woman exist today? That's what I'm looking for in my poems. Women are not necessarily responsible for what happens today in our lives of fire, ruin and wars. The Arabic woman is responsible for the drought of femininity, the rise in the level of arrogance among the female community, her threatening the continuity of life in a way that brings fun and happiness. Therefore, my poems may be attempts to search for another woman, a woman who is not like the others, but still shares the descriptions, conditions and feature that Antar's Abla, Gameel's Bothaina, Crazy's Laila and Nizar's Belquis have.