The great Palestinian writer, who lived many years in Iraq, remembers his friend Badr Shakir al-Sayyab.
Badr Shakir al-Sayyab
“His illusions, his distant dreams, and his winged fantasies seemed to flutter quietly with emotion and land on his poems, leaving their enchanting colorful feathers on them.”
“I remember now Badr Shakir al-Sayyab – I see him in our house, with a group of friends, sitting on small straw chairs, sharing a table, or improvising a seat on the floor.”
“One of the trickiest, most mysterious secrets of the Arabic language is the root h-l-m.”
Badr Shakir al-Sayyab is one of the most important names in modern Iraqi poetry — and indeed modern Arabic poetry. The poet, who died in 1964 at just 38, shook the poetic world with his verse. Translator, scholar, and author Dr. Issa Boullata, whose PhD dissertation became a book on al-Sayyab, answered a few questions about the poet’s life and work.