“An instant of utter stillness”
You’re also in the process of writing a book of poetry about Corsica. Why Corsica?
Bouhlal: The first time I went to Corsica, my partner Driss Bensekry had just died. Everything in me was dead, I had no desire to live. I was full of grief. But Corsica, the wildness of the landscape, the sea, the mountains, this harsh beauty, all of that reawakened my love of life, so that I said to myself: no, you have to keep on living, because there are still wonderful things to live and to see. Look at Corsica, this island you didn’t know; you can learn so much here. This island saved me at a time when I really just wanted to go.
Poetry as a literary form has often been declared dead. Do you believe that poetry has a future?
Bouhlal: As long as there are poets, there will be poetry. Perhaps it’s for that reason that there are not fewer readers. Let me say this, too: for me, poetry is not just a piece of written text. It is also gestures, looks, moments, an instant of utter stillness: all of this can be poetry.
Read poetry by Siham Bouhlal here