Class Warrior—Taoist Style
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Abdelkébir Khatibi (1938–2009) is one of the most important writers and thinkers to emerge from North Africa in the second half of the twentieth century. Though not widely known beyond the Francophone world, Khatibi's critical and creative works speak to the central concerns of postcolonial and postmodern life. Offered here in English for the first time, his long poem from 1976, Le lutteur de classe à la manière taoïste is a wildly inventive, transgressive, and important text. Class Warrior delivers a kind of free-verse Marxist handbook, written with the energy, movement, and style of a highly idiosyncratic Taoism. Matt Reeck's compelling translation captures the stylistic and thematic beats of Khatibi's verse, rendering the deceptively simple language of the original without losing its extraordinary layers and complexities. The introduction provides biographical context and an overview of Khatibi's poetics of the orphan, a subject position that seeks to avoid authenticating notions of origins and that is also constantly restless and forever questing. This is a rich text for contemporary readers of poetry, as well as scholars of postcolonial theory.