Political Prisoner by Fadhil Al Azzawi

Fadhil al-Azzawi is an Iraqi writer and poet. Born in 1940 in Kirkuk, he published poems at the tender age of 15, the publishers oblivious that he was still school boy. What started as a fascination with the rhythmic recitation of Qur’an, developed into successful talent in writing, poetry and criticism. Al-Azzawi has published eight volumes of poetry in Arabic, one in German, two open texts, five novels, one volume of short stories, two volumes of criticism and theoretical writings, and many literary works of translation from English and German. He moved to Berlin in 1983, where he still resides.

Political Prisoner. Behind a locked door. In a locked prison. In a locked desert. Of a locked homeland. A human being is kept in chains: none of us know him. The tortures might kick him. The cops might mock him. Even his companions might deny him. He might grow a beard to pass the time. The yellow journalists might vilify him. Not even mention his name. Or post it at night on Satan’s wall. But as he faces his executioners. Shackled in the darkness of his cell. United with the revolution which approaches like a mysterious song. He can destroy all the world’s prisons. And free us, before it is too late, from the legacy of fear. Though he is bound and wounded tonight. Tomorrow he will rise up; to set forth his history.

Titles available in English include:

Miracle Maker (2003), poems translated by Khaled Mattawa, and three novels, The Last of the Angels(2007 and 2008), Cell Block Five (2008), and The Traveler and the Innkeeper(2011), all translated by William Maynard Hutchins.

Listen to a recitation here: https://www.lyrikline.org/en/poems/408

Fadhil al-Azzawi




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