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Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
First of all, I would like to dedicate my greetings to everyone reading this dialogue and to thank you for this interview. I was born in Iraq, in its far south, in the city of Ur (now Nasiriyah), the religious capital of the Sumerians 2600 BC, the city in which cuneiform writing, the first form of writing in history, was invented and the place in which Ibrahim was born. Ibrahim is The Prophet mentioned in both books “The ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia” by Jean-Claude Margeron and “The Art of the Ancient Near East” by Seton Lloyd.
This civilizational momentum and the climate of ethnic, religious, and racial diversity allowed me to become a person of sub-identity open to cultures in all its forms: a leftist, socialist, and anti-racist who loves to dream of being part of the universal human project, transcending identity, religion and race, a bookworm, and the father of one daughter, whose name is Nargis, which refers to one of the most famous types of roses in the world.
What inspired you to write Blue Blood?
writing is the author himself in the form of ink, or in other words, it is a spectral holographic reflection of the author himself and a tool for documenting his existential journey with its questions, inquiries, joy, sadness, and other conditions, and at the same time objecting to its limitations. For that reason, he tries, through writing, to pass himself on to others with the motive of survival and immortality in the collective memory of humankind, and the act of writing is somewhat similar to the biological species process in biology to pass on genes with the goal of immortality. This is the main motivation for not only writing the “Blue Blood” book but also my previous and subsequent editions.
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Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
The book’s cover is an artistic painting drawn from my hometown. It is a local boat whose manufacture dates back to the Sumerian era. We use it now for hiking and fishing in the water, called ( AlAhwar ) adjacent to the city from the East. The reason why I have chosen that art is that this boat is capable of carrying only one person and I felt that that person represents me as I am an introverted and autistic person.
What were the struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
The greatest difficulty that I faced after completing the book was translating it into English, and by that, I do not mean the literal translation itself, because it is an easy matter and many people can do it, but the book needed a translator to translate the text without losing its spirit. The original text indeed loses some of its splendor during the translation process, and this is absolutely one of the translation defects. Thanks to the wonderful Dr. Heba Al-Shaher, who was like a guardian angel for this book, the task of translating the book was accomplished and produced in its best possible way. We have previously agreed to give her complete freedom to choose the appropriate vocabulary to keep the spirit of the text to avoid falling into the trap of literal translation, which is usually correct in terms of grammar but poetically dead.
What prompted Zaki Al-Ali, the Iraqi Arab poet, to translate the book Blue Blood into English and put it on the American market, and will you have a second translated book? Tell your readers more about Blue Blood.
As you know, translated literature is considered one of the most important cultural bridges that link civilizations to each other, through which it is possible to internationalize and generalize cultures around the world, and through it, the people of the West learn about the methods of self-expression of the people of the East and the characteristics and aesthetics they are not familiar with by the environment and the ruling regional culture and vice versa. Translated literature undertakes this task. We are in the East, and through translated literature, we got to know Shakespeare, Ts Eliot, and others. We learned about their literary experiences, ways of thinking, obsessions, aspirations, future aspirations, and their general existential vision. To create a psychological and spiritual link between who lives in the Middle East and his brother who lives in the West. The book is a collection of texts that reflect this life experience.
Who is your target audience, and why?
The American public, being an educated and loving audience, tends to learn about the cultural experiences of other people and the Arab expatriates living in the United States in particular as well as for European peoples who wish to learn about the poetic experience of the East in general.
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If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?
Do you have interest in the mindset of oriental people who are more attracted to mythology, love and war? Are you interested on knowing their lifestyle, their needs, their perspective on themselves and individuals, and the remainder of the existential jargon? If it is the case then purchase the book
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
My perspective of success is extremely basic: if you have a lady who loves you and poems to read and you have enough money to buy dinner and you own a pack of cigarettes, you are a happy person and a successful poet
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I went through this experience after completing a collection of poetry called ”Hajj al-Firash” in Arabic and it lasted for about a whole year, during which I was not able to write a single new text or complete an open text. All my attempts to get out of the poetic blockage had failed until I employed the jealous instinct of the poets and energized the soul of contest inside me. This good and bad explanatory instinct assumed the task of opening that blockage, I promised myself to write poetry with the greed of the hungry, and the result was a new Arabic collection of poetry that was imprinted in Kuwait and displayed at the Riyadh Exhibition in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a poet?
Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab, William Blake, the wars in my country, and the existential pain. Blue Blood is the first step for the poet Zaki Alali towards global fame
Choose for us a text that was the spiritual father of the book
The places that my feet can’t reach
I reach them with poetry
The Barn swallow told me once that an old soul travels without tickets And a gentle bird sleeps in the open air.
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