Project Description

Abdulkareem Kasid


Abdulkareem Kasid, born in 1946 in the city of Al-Basra, Iraq and later graduated in philosophy from Damascus University 1967 at the age of 21. I later went on to obtain an MA in translation from the University of Westminster, London (1995). My occupation for a great number of years was to teach psychology and Arabic literature in both Iraq and later in Algeria.
I initially left Iraq in 1978 due to the brutality of the Iraqi regime (at the beginning of Saddam’s reign), and fled to Kuwait. The journey to Kuwait was via the desert and altogether took seven days, our only means of transportation was a camel. I was in hiding in Kuwait for four months, for fear of being discovered by the government and told to go back to Al-Basra, I then left Kuwait for Yemen.
I Settled in Aden, where I worked as an editor of the New Yemeni Culture magazine for just over a year I then departed in 1980 and went to live in Damascus, Syria until 1990. I now currently live in London with my two children, after the death of my wife in January 2002.
During the years I have published several collections and translated poems from French into Arabic. Collections include; “the bags” 1975, “tapping on the doors of childhood” 1978, “Epitaph” 1981,”Bicagy’s rose” 1983, “Promenade of sadness” 1991, “Sarabad” 1997, “ticking unreachable from light”1998. “Paroles” of Jacques Prevert , “Anabas” of Saint-john Perse , “Papiers” of Ritsos were all translated from French into Arabic. My more recent publications have been; “Kifa Nabki” (2002), which translated means “Halt-let us weep”, “The insane do not tire”- short story collection, (2004) and “Zihariat” (2005). My poetry has been translated into English in the first Anthology of translated Arabic poetry 1987 (Columbia university press), and in “Iraqi Poetry today” 2003 (King’s college, London). I am also featured in the dictionary of Contemporary Arabic authors published in 1985, published in Arabic and German.

The Dream-cart
For my daughter Sara

yes, my child,
I am that faithful mongoose.
Who will return my blood to me?
I am the bewitched gazelle
resting her head on the sky
I am your crown of gold,
the little princesses
In your dream-cart.


A little house I’ll find you
In this vast kingdom
to fit in your palm.

In this vast kingdom
You’ll give me a thing so grand
it will fill all the sky.
That will be you.


when I enter your kingdom unseen
bewitched, a beggar or king,
I am at ease in my heart’s window,
looking up at your balcony,
lighting a lantern
with my stories.


If you are a fish
I am the lake-
have you seen me?

You might be a bird-
Then I am your rushing air.
have you heard me?


I leave with one basket
and come back with two.
going off with a barrow
I return with two horses.
While walking together
we shall laugh,
a doll keeping us company,
and a big inquisitive bird
whom we shall not answer.


You might spot me,
A bird, in a flock of birds.
if you can’t find me
watch that one, flapping ineffectively.


Do you hear,
In my poetry, the sickle, scything by night?
That’s the harvest.