Haven’t got so excited by a poet as much as this one for a while…
Adnan+Stephen will be reading again on the 30th August 2009 at 7:30pm at the TORRIANO HOUSE 99 Torriano Avenue, 5 minutes walk from Kentish Town tube station.
In The Garden Of The Unknown Soldier
The soldier who that morning forgot
to shave his hair
and was punished for it by his Sergeant,
the soldier left fallen in the dust of battle,
the beautiful soldier, with his thick beard
that got to grow
little by little
until – after ten years – it was a forest
of tangled bush,
such that nightingales sang in his branches
and children always played on his swings
and lovers came closer in his shade
That soldier …
who grew into a park for the whole town,
what if that day he’d shaven his head …
Amman 28th September 1993
(Here it in Arabic here) http://www.adnanalsayegh.com/eng/index.asp?DO=AUDIO
Born in Al-Kufa (Iraq) in 1955, Adnan al-Sayegh is one of the most original voices from the generation of Iraqi poets known as the Eighties Movement. His poetry, crafted with elegance, and sharp as an arrowhead, carries an intense passion for freedom love and beauty. Adnan uses his words as a weapon to denounce the devastation of war and the horrors of dictatorship.
In 1993 his uncompromising criticism of oppression and injustice led to his exile in Jordan and the Lebanon. After being sentenced to death in Iraq in 1996, because of the publication of Uruk’s Anthem, a long poem in which he gives voice to the profound despair of the Iraqi experience- he took refuge in Sweden. Since 2004 he lives in London.
In the Spring of 2006, Adnan al-Sayegh read his poems at the third Al-Marbed Poetry Festival in Basra, Iraq. The poems upset the intolerant armed militia and al-Sayegh was threatened with death and with having his tongue cut out. He was forced to leave Basra in haste and through Kuwait to return to his exile in London.
Adnan is a member of the Iraqi and Arab Writers Unions, the Iraqi and Arab Journalists Unions, the International Journalist Organization, the Swedish Writers Union and the Swedish Pen Club.
He has received several international awards; among them, the Hellman – Hammet International Poetry Award (New York 1996), the Rotterdam International Poetry Award (1997) and the Swedish Writers Association Award (2005), and has been invited to read his poems in many festivals across the world.