19th February 2022
Curating Imazighen poetry with Lydia Hounat
At this event, poet Lydia Hounat will discuss the curation of Manchester Poetry Library’s Imazighen poetry collection. The discussion will centre around the orality of Imazighen literature and representations of Imazighen symbology and history.
Of her work on the collection, Lydia writes that it acts “as an entry point introduction into the intersection between French and Imazighen poetry and culture. This list challenges the boundaries of poetry, and what poetry actually means… Having curated this collection, in retrospect now, perhaps the word is rendered just that, a word. Of course, Amazigh poetry has been a long-time oral tradition for thousands of years. Even now, this poetry continues to resist paper or any other physical medium — it only relies on voice. For this reason, I have included numerous albums from some of the Maghreb’s most powerful and renowned Imazighen voices. I grew up with the tapes from Hadda Ouakki, Lounès Matoub, and Idir. My father would drive me to Arabic School in Chorlton, playing Enrico Macias’s Adieu Mon Pays over and over. I clung to my aunts as a child, at weddings in Algiers, whilst singers like Chérifa ululated from the speakers.[…] What I hope this collection shows you, as it continues to show me, is how much work there is to be done in the recognition of Amazigh and French literature. There are a vast number of translations awaiting our tongues to try, songs to be heard, gaps to be filled.”