Mririda N’Ait Atiq

Mririda N’Ait Atiq (c. 1900 – c. 1940) was a Moroccan Berber Shilha poet.

Little is known about her life. Born in the village of Megdaz, in the Tassaout valley, Mririda married at a very early age, but soon fled her unhappy life at home to become an itinerant oral poet and performer. She toured from market to market, improvising and performing her poetry, which she composed in Tashelhit.

Mririda was the pen name she used on stage, and her real name is unknown. She was illiterate and never committed her poems to paper. Her poetry dealt with tabu topics at the time (particularly coming from a woman poet), such as divorce, household problems, and unrequited love.

Sometime during the late 1920’s and the early 1930’s, Mririda’s poems were recorded and translated into French by René Euloge, a French civil servant and scholar.

During the 1940’s, she is said to have been a courtesan in the souk (marketplace) in Azilal, and was famed for the songs she sang to the men who visited her house. By the end of WWII, Mririda had disappeared. No one ones when or where she died.

Books

Poetry collections

  • Les Chants de la Tassaout de Mririda N’aït Attik (1959, tr. René Euloge)
  • Songs of Mririda by Mririda n’Ait Attik (1974, translated from Euloge’s version in French by Daniel Halpern and Paula Paley)
  • Tassawt Voices, by Mririda n-Ayt Attiq and René Euloge (2001, translated from Euloge’s version in French by Michael Peyron)

Anthologies

  • Bending the Bow: an anthology of African love poetry, ed. Frank M. Chipasula (2009)
  • The Penguin Book of Women Poets, ed. Carol Cosman, Joan Keefe, and Kathleen Weaver (1978)

About her

  • Women, Gender, and Language in Morocco, by Fatima Sadiqi (2003)
  • Women Writing Africa: The Northern region, ed. Fatima Sadiqi, Moha Ennaji, Amira Nowaira, and Azza El Kholy (2009)

This post is my first contribution to the project Invisible Cities, hosted by Yamini (shakespeareandspice);  Nicole (nicole is here to learn); Natalie (Curious Reader); Stephanie (time to read!); Michael (Knowledge Lost); Wil (MyBookishEmpire); and Agnese (Beyond the Epilogue)

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