Poetry. Middle Eastern Studies. Translated by Saleh Razzouk with Philip Terman. From the introduction: "In terms of his poetics, Riad did not trust a modernity without traditions. Instead, he preferred a modernity that was able to digest many tones and styles while still staying aware of its sources. Riad combined contemporary themes with hybrid, experimental forms, often in the same poem; his language (even in translation) encompasses, in frequently startlingly surreal imagery, an impressively expansive range of themes from the lexicons of art and nature, military conflict and sensual intimacies, and the stuff of his highly imaginative and sensitive interior dream world. In the manner of a Vallejo or a Neruda, his rhythm often breaks through its form, yet at the same time one senses the immediacy of his intense passion combined with his deeply attuned sense of compassion: 'I want to build a room / Enough for a thousand friends... / I want to place a river / in the prison / I want to steal the jail cells / And throw them into the sea' ('Wishes'). During the period of the Arab 'Beat Generation,' Hussein's popularity thrived. His handsome appearance, complicated attitude with women, Dylan Thomas-like affection for alcohol, and his expansive, Whitman-like openness, made him a veritable poetry star. And so, it's no surprise that he was detained by the authorities and tortured. Because of his popularity among the younger generation and his good relations with important representatives in the media and among Syrian cultural figures, he was fortunate: he was granted release in less than a week. But the psychological scars penetrated deeper: he was ill, without access to meet expenses for his treatment, and he died only months after his release at the age of 28."
Riad Saleh Hussein (1954-1982) was a Syrian poet from the Aleppo province. He was mute, worked in Cinema Life Magazine in Damascus, and later for the Tishreen Daily until his death after a brief arrest for unspecified reasons. He published three collections of poetry; the fourth appeared after his death. A complete edition of his works was published in Baghdad, edited by Emad Najjar. He was considered a pioneer of prose poetry in which you can detect elements from Yves Bonnefoy and Jacques Prevert. He is a symbol of the Beat Generation who continued to revolutionize prose poetry in Arabic in the post-Adonis era.Author City: ALLEPO SYR