A Winged Horse in a Plane

Salah Faik was born in Kirkuk, Iraq, in 1945. He worked in journalism in Iraq and abroad after leaving. He has lived in London and currently lives in the Philippines. One of the original members of the Kirkuk group, he has published more than ten books of poetry, and is considered by many to be one of the most important poets writing in Arabic today. His most recent collection, Dubaba fi Ma’tam (Bears at a Funeral) was just published by Dar al-Jamal (Beirut/Baghdad).

Maged Zaher was born in Cairo, and currently lives in Seattle. He is the author of four books of poetry and the translator of an anthology of contemporary Egyptian poetry. He won the weekly Stranger’s Genius award in literature in 2013. His collection The Consequences Of My Body is forthcoming in 2016 from Nightboat editions.

A Winged Horse in a Plane
By Salah Faik | Translated by Maged Zaher • 2015 •  OUT OF PRINT
Design by Jeff Sanner
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In his brief preface to A Winged Horse in a Plane, Maged Zaher writes of Salah Faik: “Salah is against all authorities, including his own: he reinvents himself incessantly and he told me, ‘if I saw Salah Faik I would devour him, I would kill him.’” Faik’s poems waver between the documentary and the surrealist, the angry and the resigned, the lyrical and the mythical. This chapbook provides an excellent introduction to an important Arab poet.

For more on Faik, see salah-faik-and-an-imagined-poem

Excerpt: Searching for my soul in daytime

I always live near a river, like my ancestors,

Recently by an ocean, behind me mountains or hills.

In these waters everyone bathes – bulls, cows, dogs,

Humans, wild horses that are not yet tamed, late arriving priests

Pulling carts that hold their drums.

It might be said that I live in a past time, that I am a little romantic

With big ambitions, yet no:

I’m still lying in bed, imagining that I will write a poem today.

I will write and write until I get to my soul and touch it–

Since I do not see it at night

And I do not know where it disappears or goes.

That’s all.