The presentation of the Poet and his works
Mohammed Bennis is a Moroccan poet and one of the most prominent writers of modern Arabic poetry. Since the 1970s, he has enjoyed a particular status within Arab culture. Muhsin J al-Musawi states that “Bennis’ articulations tend to validate his poetry in the first place, to encapsulate the overlapping and contestation of genres in a dialectic, that takes into account power politics whose tropes are special. As a discursive threshold between Arab East and the Moroccan West, tradition and modernity, and also a site of contestation and configuration, Muhammad Bennis’ self-justifications may reveal another poetic predilection, too.”
Bennis attended Quranic School, joining a public primary school in 1958 at the age of ten. He became interested in literature from an early age, particularly lyric poetry.
He pursued his university studies in literature at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Dhar Mehraz, Fez, from where he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic literature in 1972. At the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of the Mohammed V-Agdal University, Rabat, Bennis defended his PhD thesis, supervised by Abdelkebir Khatibi, on the Phenomenon of Contemporary Poetry in Morocco in 1978. In 1988, at the same faculty, he defended a second doctoral thesis, supervised by Jamel-Eddine Bencheikh, on Modern Arabic poetry, structures, and mutations.
Bennis published his first poems in 1968 in Al Alam newspaper in Rabat. In 1969, he sent his poems to the poet Adonis, who published them in the 9th issue of the Mawaqif poetry magazine. Ma Qabla al-Kalam (Before Words), Bennis’ first collection of poems, was published in 1969.
He settled in Mohammedia in 1972 where he taught Arabic language. Since 1980, he has been professor of modern Arabic poetry at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of Rabat’s Mohammed V-Agdal University. He has retired since 1 September 2016, after 44 years of teaching. He has since devoted himself to writing.