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Otis Books Publishes Newly Collected Poetry, Interview by Renowned Moroccan Poet

Cover of For an Ineffable Metrics of the Desert, white title text against a black background
Halley Sutton

Otis Books is proud to announce the publication of For an Ineffable Metrics of the Desert, a bilingual edition of the selected poems of the writer Mostafa Nissabouri. The collection was translated from French by Otis College of Art and Design professor Guy Bennett, Pierre Joris, Addie Leak, and Teresa Villa-Ignacio. The book, which was developed, designed, and published by Otis Books and Otis College of Art and Design MFA Writing students, is the first time this particular collection of Nissabouri’s poems have been published together in English.

Collection of poems brings an important international author to English readers

For an Ineffable Metrics of the Desert includes more than half of Nissabouri’s collected poems, along with a new, unfinished manuscript not yet published in the original French, and finishes with a lengthy interview with the poet. The book brings together writings from early in Nissabouri’s career, including poems published in the 1960s, all the way to his most current writing, and provides a retrospective look at a large selection of an influential Moroccan poet’s work.

"Most of Nissabouri’s works are now out of print and hard to come by, which makes this collection all the more welcome," said Guy Bennett, Otis College professor and Editorial Director of Otis Books. For an Ineffable Metrics of the Desert was designed and typeset by Heather John Fogarty, a recent Otis College MFA Writing graduate. Fogarty said she selected the color for the text of Nissabouri’s name on the cover as a shade close to ocher, to evoke the sands of Nissabouri’s home country of Morocco.

Mostafa Nissabouri was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1943. He is a poet and art critic and a member of the Board of the House of Poetry in Morocco. He is one of the founders of both the reviews Souffles and Integral. In 1964, he and Mohammed Khair-eddine published a manifesto calling for the modernization of Moroccan poetry. Previously published titles include Higher Memory, The One Thousandth and Second Night, and Approaching the Desert Space.

Student-run press gives writers behind the scenes look at publishing

Each year, Otis Books publishes a few titles, both as a way to contribute to the literary community as well as to gives MFA Writing students the hands-on experience of working at a press, through reading submitted manuscripts through offering writing contracts to development to typesetting to publication. Like Solène, many of the works published by Otis Books are translations, or else are experimental poetry, prose, or works that can’t be easily categorized.

Otis Books will be accepting manuscripts for the entire month of November 2018, bookmark the submissions page for more details. Purchase For an Ineffable Metrics of the Desert and other titles from Otis Books at SPD Distribution. Learn more about the Otis Books publishing program at www.otis.edu/mfa-writing/otis-books.

Halley Sutton is a graduate of the Otis College of Art and Design MFA Writing program.