Three Unpublished Poems by Iraqi Poet Soheil Najm
Soheil Najm is an Iraqi poet who has published four books: Breaking the Phrase (1994), Your Carpenter O Light (2002), No Window Outside the Window (2008), and the anthology Flowers in Flame (2008). He has also translated selections of work by Nikos Kazantzakis, Alasdair Gray, Ted Hughes, and Jose Saramago. In September, 2009, he was a featured poet in the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s Jazz Poetry concert.
In January Sampsonia Way asked Najm for some of his unpublished poems. In response he sent three pieces: “Adam the Neglected,” “Black Paradise,” and “The Bird of Possibility,” which Najm says are “part of a large project, telling aspects of the life we have lived in our region during the last decades.”
The poems below are published as a Sampsonia Way exclusive. Najm’s brief explanations of the poems follow the embedded text.
NAJM: THE STORY BEHIND THE POEMS
Adam the Neglected
“In the history of the world we see that most of the people work hard, but very few of them collect the harvest. I think we still need to respect and value the achievements of those individuals who are on the margins of society. With this poem I am singing for justice and freedom for the everyman to choose his own fate.”
“In times of confusion, in wars, when many things are going wrong, the everyman or everywoman finds honey tasting bitter. Craziness dominates, leading people to destroy their beautiful things, and acute contrasts become parts of reality.”
The Bird of Possibility
“This is a narrative of the journey of the unknown real people who were buried alive during the dictatorship era. Another page of craziness. What we could not imagine or dream turned out to be very possible.”