I hear, in me, the echo of all these voices, which are perhaps, only one and only voice, voices that resonate within me, voices that espouse life’s wanderings, voices that are prayers for an absent deity, silent voices, interrupted time, melancholic voices, fragments of light, voices that are incantations of passion, passion for words, books, language, voices that interrogate death.
“Writing is the last frontier between life and death,” voices of a rebellious wound, plural voices of a half-monster, half-angel country, voices which say that poetry is not from this place, that it is consciousness of the infinite, enchanting voices, through the force of charisma, voices that talk about the nostalgia of mourning, voices of revolt, to be done with privileges, voices that talk about the ritual of writing, an almost carnal work, voices that talk about the derision of the real, impatient voices, we cannot quite flee the destiny of its anger, voices of those who have nothing, another light haunting their eyes, so many voices that resonate within me, I thought I could capture the souls of others, but these souls, their echoes, now dwell within me, a one and only voice perhaps, that of the human, so many voices, so many miracles in the wrecks of my imagination.
--Umar Timol, translated from the French by Keith Moser
Umar Timol is a Mauritian author and poet, who has published four collections of poetry and two novels and other miscellaneous articles in national and international journals. He writes mainly in French and in Creole, and a selection of his work has been translated in English, Spanish, Dutch, Romanian, Arabic and German.
He also wrote a text for an African comic book, Les yeux des autres, which was published in 2010 in the anthology Visions of Africa (l’Harmattan) which won an award. He is a founding member of Point Barre, a Mauritian cross-disciplinary poetry journal that publishes poets from around the world. He was awarded a grant by the Centre National du Livre (CNL) for a writer’s residency at the Festival des Francophonies at Limoges in 2011 and to work on his novel Le monstre. His novel, Journal de la vieille folle was published in 2012 by Editions l'Harmattan and was translated into a play in 2018. He is very active on the international poetry scene and also contributed a poem Island to the BBC Scotland Postcard project in the context of the Commonwealth Games 2012. In 2018 he attended the International Writing Programme ( IWP ) at the University of Iowa. His exhibition of photographic portraits of Mauritian writers was held at the Blue Penny Museum in 2019.