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50 years at the cutting edge of poetry publishing

“A meeting point for poets of all latitudes”
— VĂ­ctor Rodríguez Núñez

Adnan al-Sayegh Iraq

Adnan al-Sayegh
Adnan al-Sayegh

Adnan al-Sayegh was born in al-Kufa, Iraq in 1955.
One of the most original voices of the generation of Iraqi
poets that came to maturity in the 1980s, his poetry, sharp
and crafted with elegance, carries an intense passion
for freedom, love and beauty. His words denounce the
devastation of wars and the horrors of dictatorship, but
also act on quieter and more personal levels. In the 1980s
he was conscripted in the Iran-Iraq War and in 1993 his
uncompromising criticism of oppression and injustice led
to exile in Jordan and the Lebanon. In 1996 he published
Uruk’s Anthem, a book-length poem – one of the longest
in Arabic literature – in which he richly articulates deep
despair at the Iraqi experience. On its publication he was
sentenced to death in Iraq and took refuge in Sweden.
Since 2004 has been living in exile in London.

Eleven collections of his poetry in Arabic, among them
Formations, Uruk’s Anthem and Carrying his Exile Under
his Arm
, have been published and a further one is in
production. The poems translated in the present volume
recognise the trajectory of his exile and the concerns of
his life.

Adnan al-Sayegh has received several international
awards, including the Hellman-Hammet International
Poetry Award (New York, 1996), the Rotterdam
International Poetry Award (1997) and the Swedish
Writers Association Award (2005). His poetry has been
translated into many languages and he is frequently
invited to take part in poetry festivals around the world.