Habib Tengour

Poetry / Translation
ISBN: 978-0942996-80-7
$17.00 • 80 pp. • 2013
Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker

Purchase from Small Press Distribution

Excerpt on the Words Without Borders Blog

Review by M. Lynx Qualey on Arab Literature (in English)

Review by Lucy Binnersley for Paris Lit Up

Beginning with the astonishing prologue poem, “Conversation with Mohammed Dib,” followed by four long, spectacular poems, each a small book in itself, Habib Tengour’s Crossings takes us through various, lavishly depicted, geographical, political, historical, spiritual, moral, and aesthetic spaces that we’ve never been in before. “My tribe that cannot be worn down continues,” the poet says. His tribe being—in Ezra Pound’s phrase describing poets—“the antennae of the race.” Crossings is an amazing book by a brilliant poet, amazingly and brilliantly translated by Marilyn Hacker, who is at her characteristic best, which is the best.
—Lawrence Joseph


Habib Tengour was born in 1947 in Mostaganem, Eastern Algeria, and raised on the Arab and Berber voices of marketplace storytellers. He has lived most of his life between Algeria and Paris, where he now lives. Trained as an anthropologist and sociologist, he has taught at universities in both countries, while emerging over the years as one of the Maghreb’s most forceful and visionary contemporary Francophone voices. Himself a specialist in the literature of the Maghreb, he edited and prefaced the edition of Mohammed Dib’s complete poems. His own work has been translated into German and Italian; a collection was translated into English by Pierre Joris in 2012. Author of poetry, fiction, nonfiction narratives and essays, his books include Le Vieux de la MontagneGravité de l’angeL’Arc et la cicatrice and L’Ancêtre cinéphile.


Marilyn Hacker is the author of more than twenty five books of poetry, essays and translations from the French. She lives in Paris.