Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Elegy: #LeilaAlaoui (Ekphrastic Poem)

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 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.

Read a tribute to Alaoui at NPR and Alaoui's obituary at The New York Times.

No comments: