By Habib Tengour

Translated by Marilyn Hacker


The Post-Apollo Press
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Etel Adnan
Design by Simone Fattal
Poetry, Translation
Edition, Year
First Edition, 2013
In Print

From the Contemporary Poetry Series #2

Finalist for the 2014 National Translation Award

Beginning with the astonishing prologue poem, “Conversation with Mohammed Dib,” followed by four long, spectacular poems, each a small book in itself, Habib Tengour’s Crossings takes us through various, lavishly depicted, geographical, political, historical, spiritual, moral, and aesthetic spaces that we’ve never been in before. “My tribe that cannot be worn down continues,” the poet says. His tribe being—in Ezra Pound’s phrase describing poets—“the antennae of the race.” Crossings is an amazing book by a brilliant poet, amazingly and brilliantly translated by Marilyn Hacker, who is at her characteristic best, which is the best. — Lawrence Joseph

Habib Tengour
Habib Tengour was born in 1947 in Mostaganem, Algeria, and raised on the Arab and Berber voices of marketplace storytellers. He has lived most of his life between Algeria and Paris, where he now is based. Trained as ... Read More
Marilyn Hacker
Marilyn Hacker is the author of more than twenty five books of poetry, essays and translations from the French. She lives in Paris. Read More

Crossings, in a flawlessly tuned translation by Hacker (2013), “distinguishes poetry from prose.” At least, the protagonist of Tengour’s brilliant “This Particular Tartar” can distinguish between the two, we’re told. They intertwine here, as in all but the first of Crossings’ four long poems… Tengour, who once wrote a “Manifesto of Maghrebian Surrealism,” ranges widely, making use of oral tradition and popular myth, silliness and beauty, song and surprise.
— Marcia Lynx Qualey, ArabLit Quarterly


It was a red-roofed “native” school
with clock and tower: ECOLE JEANMAIRE
not far
as if to mark a threshold
from the firing range
the squared-off watchpost
today built shoddily into a block of HLMs
of a relative who guarded the buried gold

The state of things and stories propped up belief.

— Habib Tengour (from Crossings), Words Without Borders


Praise for Crossings

[Tengour’s] poetry is alive with lavish colours and the energy of life and movement. He intertwines lives with events without relegating either to be a mere backdrop. His poetry is laden with beautiful philosophy, “All I hear is disarray and helplessness. An agony. Exile is sterile. Where is life? It is here. When the poem is said and the sentence falls.”
— Lucy Binnersley, Paris Lit Up

This slim, precious volume published by Post-Apollo Press… crosses through a lyric space calling over into the abyss for a sense of life and death… to conclude with a prosier section This Particular Tartar which is a kind of story-poem revisiting the themes which populate this book: racism and stereotyping, travel, immigration, the ways places and people change over time, and the purpose or place of poetry and literature in such discombobulated and ephemeral existences.
— Jennifer K. Dick, Tears in the Fence

We Also Recommend

Vision of the Return
By Amin Khan
Translated by Dawn-Michelle Baude
By Issa Makhlouf
By Danielle Collobert
Translated by Nathanaël

Dedicated support from individual readers like you funds our day-to-day operations and enables the programming we undertake in direct service to the visionary writers and artists whose works we champion.