Youssef Rzouga

Youssef Rzouga (b. 1957 in Mahdia, Tunisia) is one of the Maghreb's most important writers. His earliest poems date from the early 1970s. They are marked by their innovativeness and reveal their author's encyclopaedic knowledge covering not only literature but also mathematics, biology and physics. What is remarkable is his attitude to the various literary traditions he moves among, transferring, for instance, Arabic prosody into his poems written in French. His texts bear witness to an inexhaustible imagination, which makes itself apparent above all in totally original imagery. His aesthetic feel and his familiarity with the intonations of poetries from the Arab and European past have allowed him to find his own unmistakeable voice.
After studying in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Tunis, he studied political science at the Institute for Press and Information Sciences. He is currently working as a journalist. His contacts with younger poets in the course of his work in the Club du mercredi littéraire and as the head of the cultural section of the Alayyam newspaper, enabled Rzouga to have a great influence as an artist on the 1990s generation.
He has been distinguished with many prizes and awards, including the First Prize of the Culture Ministry of Tunisia three times (in 1981, 1985 and 1998). He received the Chebbi Prize in 2003, and he was awarded the Arabic Prize for Poetry in Jordan in 2004 and in Egypt in 2005.
Publications (a selection):
Je vous transcende par mes tristesses, I’m distinguished from you by my grievances, 1978.
Le programme de la rose, The program of the Rose, 1984.
L´astrolabe de Youssef le voyageur, The Astrolabe of Youssef the traveler, 1986.
Le loup dans le verbe, The Wolf in the Word, 1998.
Le pays d´entre les deux mains, The Country Between the Hands, 2001.
Fleurs de dioxide de l´histoire, Flowers of Dioxide of History, 2001.
Proclamation de l´état d´alerte, Emergency Case Declaration, 2002.
Le papillon et la dynamite, The Butterfly and the Dynamite, 2004.
Yogana (le livre du Yoga poétiques), Yogana (The Book of Poetic Yoga), 2004.
Oeuvres poétiques, Poetical Works (Volume I),2003.
The ground zéro, Ground Zero, 2005.