Yassin Adnan was born in 1970 in Safi, Morocco. He studied English literature at the University of Marrakesh and education at the University of Mohammad V in Rabat. Subsequently, he worked as an English teacher and is best known today for his weekly cultural programme »Macharif« on the Moroccan television channel TVM, which was named the best cultural television ‘journal’ in 2007 and 2008. He also works for Moroccan radio and is a correspondent for the Lebanese daily newspaper »al-Akhbar«, the »Dubaï Al-Thaqafiya« magazine as well as being on the editorial staff of the cultural journal »Zawaya«.
Since the publication of his first collection, »Mannequins« (2000) his work has been characterised by a voice that is unique among the poets of his generation, not only in Morocco, but across the Arab world – a voice that is at once simple and spontaneous. In his second collection of poems, »Rasif al-qiyama« (2003, tr: Resurrection Pavement) he continues in the same vein as in the first collection. He does not attempt to blind the reader with metaphors and rhetoric. Instead, he uses elements of narrative to extend the poem, giving it the feeling of a story to make text cohesive.. »In 2000 the teacher told us, while the rain tapped on the window and the cold crept into our small bones […]: soon we will accompany this terrible world to its final resting place in a proud funeral procession.« The poems are marked by a tone of despair and a dark, nightmarish attitude towards life. »I am sick of “Good morning”, the cold and the dull grind. I am sick of walking in this funeral procession […] and of life.«
The third and final collection of poems to date, »La akad ara« (2007, tr: I Can Hardly See) is life-affirming in spite of the pain which runs through the entire book. »The old men wrapped / their bodies in dark burnouses, / with grim faces: the bones have grown fragile / and in the heads burn / the flames of these times / but we, O earth, / will not retreat, / for our sons are our blood.«
His most recent publication, with Sa’d Sarhan, is entitled, »Marakish: asrar mu’lana« (2008, tr: Marrakesh: Heralded Secrets), a literary text which attempts to outline the history of his home town, combining prose and poetry, observation and storytelling, reality and legend. Apart form poetry he has published two collections of his short stories (»Man yusaddiq al-rasa’il?«, 2001, »Tuffah al-zill«, 2006).
He is a co-editor of the literary journal »Aswat mu’asira« (Contemporary Voices), the newspaper »al- Ghara al-shi’riyya« (The Poetic Attack), counts among the new poetic voices of the 1990s, and the well-established internet portal for Arabic poetry, www.jehat.com. Since 1981 he has been awarded many prizes for his poetry. The author lives in Marrakesh.
© international literature festival berlin