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Class Warrior—Taoist Style
Abdelkéir Khatibi; Matt Reeck, trans.

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2017 • 72 pp. 6 x 8"
Poetry / African Poetry / Philosophy - Language

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7753-5
$30.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7752-8

$12.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7761-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Hardcover is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)

The first English translation of a seminal North African poem

Abdelkébir Khatibi (1938–2009) is one of the most important writers and thinkers to emerge from North Africa in the second half of the twentieth century. Though not widely known beyond the Francophone world, Khatibi’s critical and creative works speak to the central concerns of postcolonial and postmodern life. Offered here in English for the first time, his long poem from 1976, Le lutteur de classe à la manière taoïste is a wildly inventive, transgressive, and important text. Class Warrior delivers a kind of free-verse Marxist handbook, written with the energy, movement, and style of a highly idiosyncratic Taoism. Matt Reeck’s compelling translation captures the stylistic and thematic beats of Khatibi’s verse, rendering the deceptively simple language of the original without losing its extraordinary layers and complexities. The introduction provides biographical context and an overview of Khatibi’s poetics of the orphan, a subject position that seeks to avoid authenticating notions of origins and that is also constantly restless and forever questing. This is a rich text for contemporary readers of poetry, as well as scholars of postcolonial theory.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“This elegant, gripping translation of Abdelkébir Khatibi’s evocative text compels readers to contemplate complicated questions of class, language, love, and identity in poetic terms that sing of the “orphan voyage” and embrace the possibilities of difference.” —Alison Rice, author of Time Signatures: Contextualizing Contemporary Francophone Autobiographical Writing from the Maghreb

“Khatibi’s postcolonial poetics are both experimental and urgently militant; his fusion of Deleuzian nomadism (and even Sufism) resonate with the work of Edmond Jabès. The translation carries across the force of crystalline poetic koans and stands beautifully on its own. In an era witnessing the chasm of inequality yawning ever more widely around the planet and the subsequent throbbing pulses of each new crisis in immigration, this text is a manifesto for those wary of manifestos but also desperate for fighting words.”—David Fieni, SUNY Oneonta

“Oscillating playfully between the violence of his early poetic texts and the poised reflections of his mature essays, Class Warrior: Taoist Style offers a rare view of the genesis of Khatibi's oeuvre.”
—Olivia C. Harrison, author of
Transcolonial Maghreb: Imagining Palestine in the Era of Decolonization

From the Book:

what makes a writer?
a good writer seduces first
poisons second
and in the course of writing
the writer poisons the writer

what makes a reader?
a good reader absorbs the poison
but doesn’t die from pleasure
the reader creates a purer poison
absorbing the spirit of other readers

what makes a book?
a good book obeys the laws of transmigration
it has an orphan signature
it stands outside of its intimate uncontrollable joys

good writer good reader good book
this is still a class virtue

write while clawing at your crystalline voluptuousness

ABDELKÉBIR KHATIBI (1938–2009) is considered one of the most prominent writers of postcolonial Francophone literature from North Africa. His list of works includes thirty-six separate titles. During his lifetime he won literary and intellectual prizes in Morocco and France. After earning his PhD in sociology at the Sorbonne, he returned to live and work in Morocco. A writer of great breadth and challenging variety, Khatibi is known for works of literary and social criticism such as Maghreb pluriel, as well as for experimental fiction in titles such as Amour bilingue, a work of anti-autobiography in La mémoire tatouée, and poetry, including this volume and Aimance. As a translator, MATT REECK has published Mirages of the Mind (Vintage India, New Directions), selected as one of the 25 best translations of 2016 by Three Percent and Bombay Stories (Random House India, Vintage UK/US), chosen by the New York Times as a 2014 editor’s pick. He has won grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the NEA, and the PEN/Heim Fund. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Fri, 6 Jul 2018 13:58:14 -0500