Born in 1970, Hassan El Ouazzani is one of Morocco’s most important young poets. He belongs to the generation of poets who in the 1990s made the prose-poem leap into prominence in Moroccan poetry. This generation, which also includes poets such as Jalal El Hakmaoui, Mahmoud Abdelghani, Abdelilah Salhi and Yassin Adnan, has effected a postmodern paradigm shift in the poetry scene in Morocco.
Hassan El Ouazzani’s poems draw considerably on mythology, but in a postmodern spirit, blending mythical allusions with everyday experience. His poetry also draws on surrealist imagery, used deliberately to deflate the Romantic and Modernist notion of the poet-hero so dear to previous generations. Moreover, what makes El Ouazzani’s poetry so enjoyable is to a great extent its aura of intimacy and the simplicity of its language, which the poet achieves without sacrificing depth and meaning. Of him German poet Tobias Burghardt wrote: “The poet, whose presence was noted at the Medellin Poetry Festival in Colombia, uses paradox to create a coherent poetic system.” His first collection of poems, Hudnatun ma (A Truce), published in 1997 by the Union of Moroccan Writers, exemplifies all these characteristics.
Formerly the secretary-general of the Moroccan House of Poetry, Hassan El Ouazzani now works as a professor in the School of Information Science in Rabat. His poems have been translated and published in diverse international poetry magazines such as Prometeo (Colombia), Kalathos (Venezuela), Ila (Germany), and Les soirs rouges (Canada). He has also published a Socio-Bibliometric Study of Moroccan Literature in the Twentieth Century.
El Ouazzani has also participated in various international festivals of poetry, such as Medellin (Colombia), Trois-Rivières (Canada), Lodève (France), Maillorca (Spain), Istanbul (Turkey), Malta and London (United Kingdom).
We would like to thank the following students on the translation Masters program of Chouaib Doukkali university, El Jadida, for their extensive contribution to the issue of PIW Morocco in which Hassan El Ouazzani was first published on PIW: Loubna Bilali, Bouchra Bouziane, Amina Jamal Eddine, Mohamed Bouya, Karima Bouziane, Khadija Hdidou and Widad Mountacer.
Hassan El Ouazzani was first featured on PIW in 2008. In 2010, he was a guest at the 41st Poetry International Festival.
Hudnatun ma (A Truce), Union of Moroccan Writers, Rabat, 1997
Poemas para la vida, translated from the Arabic by Jimena Londono, collectivo Zone Alta, Mexico, 2001
Répertoire des écrivains marocains, Union of Moroccan Writers, Rabat, 1993
La production littéraire marocaine 1929–1999: Bio-bibliographie et étude socio-bibliométrique, Union of Moroccan Writers, Rabat, 2002
Le secteur du livre au Maroc, Rabat, Ministry of Culture, 2009
‘On the historian Ibn Zidane: annotations and bibliometric study’ in Dictionary of Writers in the Age of Alawit, Rabat, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, 2009
youtube video of the poet reading his poem ‘ala masharifi al hayat’ (On the outskirts of life) at the 10th International Poetry Festival in Medellín, June-July 2000