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In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laabi

In Praise of Defeat

  • Paperback $20.00

    Jan 17, 2017 | 800 Pages

  • Ebook $14.99

    Jan 17, 2017 | 800 Pages

Product Details


Three Percent Best Translated Book Award Poetry Finalist

“A career-spanning collection of poetry from Morocco’s poet of protest, In Praise of Defeat gives the reader a time-lapse tour of Abdellatif Laâbi’s expansive poetic voice in development.” — World Literature Today

“We should not reach for In Praise of Defeat to assuage our fear and anger at the current administration, but we should reach for this book, and for Laâbi’s works in general, to seek strength and courage to nourish for own resistance.” — Zyzzyva

“Brilliantly and feelingly translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, this collection has been nominated for the Best Translated Book Award, and if there’s any justice in the world, it will win it.” — Jewish Currents

“A lovable brick of 800+ pages.” — PN Review

“Keeping pace with the long poems that are Abdellatif Laâbi’s distinctive achievement – the poems of torture and imprisonment in Morocco, or ‘People of Madrid, Pardon’ written in response to the train bombings of 2004 – an English-speaking reader like me inevitably keeps waiting for the public voice, the high style of anger and compassion, to falter or overreach.  But Laâbi’s voice does neither.  Donald Nicholson-Smith’s translations hold fast to this poetry’s unnerving eloquence and simplicity, and its hell-for-leather speed.”  —T.J. Clark

“Laâbi’s poetic voice consistently raises a song of possibilities above the dirge of cruelty.” — Victor Reinking

“The great power and subtlety of the work lies in the fine balance it strikes between that Peter Pan-like sensitivity, vulnerability and imagination, and the brutality of the real world, history and politics.” The Daily Star (Lebanon)

“That Laâbi recognizes the link between understanding our time and understanding memory is profound, and should serve as an example to other authors.” — Jordan Anderson, The Coffin Factory

“As the new collection In Praise of Defeat, deftly translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, shows, Laâbi’s early poems are poems of protest and of incarceration. They powerfully evoke the need for poetry to bear witness…In Praise of Defeat presents a poet-activist who was born in the direst possible circumstances, survived them, and has continued on a trajectory of art and activism. He shows any poet how the artistic space created by “poet, activist, former prisoner, exile” is the space where the most crucial acts of art happen.” — Emily Wolahan, The Quarterly Conversation

“As In Praise of Defeat shows, Laâbi’s early poems are poems of protest and of incarceration. They powerfully evoke the need for poetry to bear witness.” — Two Lines Press

“Laâbi has always been interested in inviting his readers to imagine what it would look like for a society to publicly honor, rather than privately imprison, the poets responsible for unmaking its own language.” — Max Nelson, The Paris Review

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