Poetry International Poetry International

Samira Negrouche

Samira Negrouche

Samira Negrouche

(Algeria, 1980)

“no one foresees 
where the lines will be drawn 
that separate you 
from the others’ geography 
from their shadows 
you inhabited 
with all your being 
the line 
to be crossed”
-    from: Thanksgiving

Samira Negrouche is part of a new generation of Francophone Algerian poets: a 'species' thought to be destined for disappearance with the post-revolutionary adoption of Arabic as first language in schools and universities. Still, Francophone Algerian poets and other writers  – who “write in French to tell the French that they are not French”, in Kateb Yacine’s mordant phrase – persist in writing, and writing in, through, against a tradition that is wholly theirs. But far from addressing themselves exclusively to the French, their work has a life throughout North and sub-Saharan Africa, in all the Francophone world, and, in translation, in South and North America and throughout Europe.

Samira Negrouche was born in 1980 in Algiers where she still lives. She is a poet, editor and translator – from Arabic to French –  who trained as a doctor, but who has chosen her writing and literary projects over the practice of medicine for several years. She has frequently collaborated with visual artists and musicians.  Her books include: A l’ombre de Grenade (2003), Le Jazz des oliviers (2010) and Six arbres de fortune autour de ma baignoire (2017) and Quai 2/1 : Partition à trois axes (2019) that grew from a performance with a violinist and a theorbist. There is great variety in Samira’s work, from the lyrical to the narrative, wry analyses of human interaction juxtaposed with the painterly, and ekphrastic, with the temptation of abstraction.

'Six Arbres de fortune autour de ma baignoire' (Six makeshift trees around my bathtub) is the title poem of a book consisting of seven sequences, often poems that reflect or obliquely reference sculptural and pictorial installations, or musical compositions, as well as the landscape that continually renews her imagination. The sequence here depends on images, juxtaposes and eludes them: cartoons, Orthodox icons, rock paintings in the Hoggar mountains of Algeria, astronomy, a contemporary cityscape – and exemplifies the verbal legerdemain with which she observes and presents her world to us.

in French
Faiblesse n’est pas de dire… Algiers: Barzakh, 2001.
Les Vagues du silence, by Yasminah Salih, Alger: Al Ikhtilef, 2002. (Translation)
L’opéra cosmique, Algiers: Al Ikhtilef, 2003.
Iridienne, Echalas: Color Gang, 2005.
A l'ombre de Grenade, Toulouse A.P l'étoile, 2003 ; Lettres Char-nues, Algiers 2006.
Cabinet secret, Echalas: Color Gang, 2007.
Le Jazz des oliviers, Blida: Editions du Tell, 2010.
Quand l'Amandier refleurira, Anthology, 2012.
Six arbres de fortune autour de ma baignoire, Mazette, Paris 2017.
“Quai 2I1, partition à trois axes”, Mazette, Paris 2019
Solio, translated by Nancy Naomi Carlson, Seagull Books, 2024

in English translation
The Olives Trees’ Jazz & Other Poems  Tr. Marilyn Hacker, Warrensburg Missouri, Pleiades Press 2020

ESSAY The poet on her identities
VIDEO On Algerian Poetry Now”
INTERVIEW On having three mother tongues
INTERVIEW On living in Algeria

Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Gefinancierd door de Europese Unie
Elise Mathilde Fonds
Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère