The birth of a poem is for me the moment of dizziness that follows a collision. A brutal collision, with cuts and wounds, blood, secretions, cries, running and trampling, but also sparks, visions overlapping space and time.
– Abdellatif Laâbi
Finally available in English, Le Règne de barbarie by Abdellatif Laâbi is one of the most daring poetic visions of the second half of the twentieth century. First published in 1976 when Laâbi was serving an eight-year prison sentence (1972-1980) for ‘crimes of opinion’ against the Moroccan State, The Rule of Barbarism is a devastating flight through consciousness, acquainting the reader with the trials of a society caught between a colonial past and the tragic realities of a brutal dictatorship. Analyzing the presence of ‘barbarism’ inherent in all of us, and yet deepening our capacity for compassion despite the allure of revenge, this stunning debut from a writer on the threshold of a groundbreaking career can be read as an epic of love, empathy, anger and despair—and is as resonant today as when composed nearly fifty years ago.