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May 2021

Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania

Image: Maouya Azziz, Untitled. Courtesy of Imago Mundi.

This month we present fiction and poetry from Mauritania. Simultaneously Arab, West African, Saharan, and Sahelian, and straddling the Arabophone and Francophone spheres, Mauritania boasts a rich literature reflecting its multiple cultures. Ahmed Isselmou depicts a global currency system under cyberattack. In tales that speak to Mauritania's tradition of movement, Aichetou looks back to a female community in a seventeenth-century Bedouin encampment, while Moussa Ould Ebnou sends a time traveler in search of a better future. Cheikh Nouh records the history and traditions of a village, and Mariem Mint Derwich highlights the role of women in preserving a nomadic culture. Mamadou Kalidou Ba sits in as two activist groups join forces against the repressive state. And Bios Diallo finds common ground with other African nations. We thank our guest editor, July Blalack, who contributes an illuminating introduction.

Book Reviews

A Pioneer of Decolonial Poetry, Jorgenrique Adoum Finally Gets His Book-length (Post)English Debut

Reviewed by Olivia Lott

Linguistic experimentation and political rebellion went hand in hand in the work of the Ecuadorian Adoum, a leading figure of the Latin American neo-avant-garde who wrote his verses in what he called "postspanish."

“The Scar We Know” Shows How Lida Yusupova Shaped Russian Feminist Poetry

Reviewed by Josephine von Zitzewitz

With an unflinching gaze at physical and sexual violence, abundant profanity and a disregard for meter and rhyme, the poems in this collection expose the gruesome routine of gender hierarchy in a society that has turned the shoring up of patriarchal structures into government policy.

In the Stories of Kjell Askildsen, Stasis and Revelation Intertwine

Reviewed by Ben Goldman

The narratives of "Everything Like Before," only the second book by the Norwegian writer to be published in the US, bend toward the seemingly mundane, then sting with an act that might (or might not) change everything.

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Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania

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