نخلة عراقية

سيرة مبدع عراقي

Bader Shaker Al-Sayyab


The pioneer of free and renewed poetry in Arabic poem, the Iraqi famous poet Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab was born in the village of Jikor, south of Basra, in 1926. Jikor is a small village belongs to Abi Al-Khasib district of Basra governorate of, and its population at that time did not than 500 inhabitants. Jikor means: (the blind table).

Al-Sayyab lost his mother when he was six years old, and the death of his mother had the deepest impact on his life. After completing primary school that was located about 10 kilometers away from his home, he moved to the city of Basra and continued his education there. Later on he moved to Baghdad, and joined the Higher Teachers House. He chose Arabic language as a major subject. But, he changed his subject to be specialist in English language.

Al-Sayyab graduated from the university in 1948, and at the same time he was known for his leaning to the left-wing politic as well as for his national struggle for liberating Iraq from the British occupation, as well as his dedication to the Palestinian case.

Al-Sayyab was fluent in the English language and thus contributed effectively to translating many international works of writers around the world, such as: the Spanish writer Federico García Lorca, the American Ezra Pound, the Indian Tagore, the Turkish Nazim Hikmat, the Italian Arturo Giovanni and the British T. S. Elliott, Edith Sitwell, and Pablo Neruda from Chile.
Al-Sayyab published a collection of his translations for the first time in 1955 in a book he called: (Selected Poems from Modern International Poetry).

In 1961 Al-Sayyab's health began to deteriorate, as he began to feel heaviness in his movement and pain began to increase in his lower back, then after that a state of atrophy appeared in his body and feet, and he continued travelling to Baghdad, Beirut, Paris and London for treatment without recovering. Finally, he went to Kuwait to receive treatment at the Amiri Hospital, that took care of him and paid for his  treatment.

He died in the hospital there on December 24, 1964, at the age of 38. His body was taken to Basra and returned to his village (Jikor) on a cold, rainy winter day. A small number of his family and few people of his village had performed his funeral procession. He was buried in Hassan al-Basri cemetery in Al-Zubayr.