An English-language Debut Collection from Abdulkareem Kasid: ‘Cafés’

The Many Press is bringing out its first book in 10 years: a debut English-language collection from Iraqi poet Abdulkareem Kasid, titled Cafés:

Photo by Amarjit Chandan.
Photo by Amarjit Chandan.

The collection was reviewed in Morning Star Online as “unforgettable.” As The Many Press doesn’t seem to have a website, the collection is not easy to find. The press has an address, and there is a page where you can find the translator-publisher’s introduction to the collection, but most helpful is the translator-publisher-poet’s personal blog, which has photos of the book! excerpts! an email address!

From “Windows,” in the new collection: 

Open in summer,
closed in winter.
In autumn
I don’t know
why I close them
or open them,
in spring
I don’t remember
what I should do.
Once I carried my luggage
And walked away
followed by windows.
What windows are those
smelling of vinegar
and my mother’s fragrance!
In the desert there is a window.
Why has no-one seen it
but me?
on a distant path,
in mountains that are merely memory
where waters run vaguely,
one small window
looks out.
This man
carries his window with him
as he walks
Photo by Amarjit Chandan.
Photo by Amarjit Chandan.

As Welch notes about the translation in his foreword, “Translating poetry today is often a collaborative affair. The sequence ‘Cafés’ was translated into French by Kader Rabia and into Amazighe, the language of the Berber people, by Sonia Lounis. I made an English version of the French which was then worked on in close consultation with the poet. ‘Windows’ was translated by the poet working with his daughter Sara Halub. This version was then worked on by David Kuhrt, again in close collaboration with the poet.”

Copies of the chapbook can be obtained from The Many Press, 15 Norcott Road, London N16 7BJ priced at £3.50 post free. And there’s also an email here.
More of Kasid’s poetry online:

Shadow Train: “House of Poetry,” “Tablets,” “Terminal Wisdom,” “Boats,” “The Seer”

From Banipal 18: “12 Epigrams,” “That Death,” “Game”

Jehat: “The Dream Cart”

Warscapes: “In Wonderland”