Last week, Leila Alaoui, aged 33, the internationally known French-Moroccan photographer and video artist, was shot and subsequently died of a heart attack January 18 in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. On assignment for Amnesty International, she had been sitting with her driver in their car outside the Splendid hotel when terrorists launched a strike. At least 28 others also lost their lives, and many more were wounded.
In celebration of her work, The Guardian newspaper published a selection of images from The Moroccans, one of Alaoui's most beautiful and moving portfolios of work. I sat with those portraits a long while, trying to imagine the stories of the women and men, only a few giving the hint of a smile. What resulted was an ekphrastic poem, "Elegy: #LeilaAlaoui", which I submitted last Friday to Rattle magazine's "Poets Respond" column.
I express my appreciation to Rattle's editor Timothy Green for selecting my poem for the weekly feature. Read "Elegy: #LeilaAlaoui", which posted January 24.