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A Poetical Photo From Baku 1977

Baku, Azerbaijan, August 1977.
From left to right: the super lovely, intelligent and attractive Ana Mercedes Rodríguez Acevedo, my future wife, myself, Merya (Finland). Sitting in foreground: Sergio (Chile), Luis (Spain).
Merce is helping me to hold a glass. No, I wasn´t drunk. It was just fun, a playful action.
That was during a summer trip of a group of some twenty students. They were all at that time, like ourselves, students at the University of Leipzig, Germany.
We visited Moscow, Yerevan (Armenia),
Baku, (Azerbaijan) and Kiev (Ukraine).
This photo was made when Merce and I were still in our initial phase of mutual attraction. Few days later, we had our first kiss in a hidden corner of a boat at the Sewan lake in Armenia.
And last but not least, we have been together since that memorable trip.

Experimenting with Avatars

.... well, well, so here comes Leila to welcome you.

Leila speaks English, Spanish and Arabic (not yet in full command of Arabic, she is still learning).

May I be allowed to introduce Leila !?

Leila is an avatar. But she is not the incarnation of a divine being (as in Hindu philosophy) or of any person. She is a robot, an artificial entity created by me using some software. Currently, Leila is not able to do many things. She speaks her welcome phrases once only. She is able to move her head, eyes and hands following the movement of the arrow of your mouse. But just wait a little and you will be surprised by her range and speed of learning. Just wait and see. You haven´t seen anything yet.

As all robots, Leila will certainly acquire her own "independent" identity in the future. Who knows, may be she will even start writing and publishing poetry on this Website.

No, no, no, I am not kidding, I mean it, seriously. These avatars are fantastic characters and have enormous evolutionary potential. And of course, there is some poetic potential in this interaction with avatars, don´t you think so? Well, please don´t fell from your chair if you find me writing poems about my avatar population. In fact, few years ago, I wrote a poem in Spanish titled "Tarde de un robót - Afternoon of a Robot".

Furthermore, the relation and interaction between a human man or woman and an avater man or woman is a fertile field for thinking, even speculation, discovery and learning in a number of disciplines: communication, computer science, artificial intelligence and psychology, to name only few. How much can we learn from the relation and interaction between, say, a human man and an avatar woman? Perhaps this unique type of relation can offer some new insight to the cultural problem of designing relations based on mutual respect and truly democratic and intelligent interpersonal complementarity.

As to poetry, I think nothing is so close to all these areas and questions as poetry, since relations of all kinds, and nobility of emotions and mind (i.e. noble-emotionality, noble-mindedness), have always been a core subject matter of poetry.
Anwar Al-Ghassani Comments

Four of my Spanish Poems
in an Argentinian Anthology

Four of my poems written in Spanish were included In "Yaaa Aliii", an anthology of contemporary Iraqi poetry, published by Clase Turista, Buenos Aires. Although the anthology was published in 2006, I was only able to buy it and get it delivered in September 2008. (Please find below more details about the poems and the book.)

The cover, handicrafted as an envelope.
Stamps on the cover. The one to the right carries the image of the late King Ghazi (1912-1939). The stampt was issued during the years of his rule (1933-1939). The other stamp dates to 1966. It carries this information "The Arab International Tourist Union, Baghdad 1966". It was probably issued on the occasion of a congress in Baghdad.
The stamps are originals. They are not reproductions.
Herencia (Heritage) one of my four poems published in the anthology. The poem is dedicated to my mother Munira Sayyed Tahir (1915-1973). The other poems are: Jk, Teniente Salah Jamil - un épico ( Lieutenant Salah Jamil - An Epic), Balance después del desastre (Stock-Taking After the Disaster).

The other participating poets are: Nedhal Abbas (4 poems), Sinan Antoon (3 poems), Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen (1 poem), Adnan Al-Sayegh (1 poem).
All poems were written in Arabic, translated to English and then to Spanish except the poems of Anwar Al-Ghassani which were written in Spanish.

------ (2006): Yaaa Aliii - pequeña antología de poesía iraquí contemporánea. Buenos Aires: Clase Turista, 46 páginas.

For more information and / or to buy the book (price: $8.90, however if you want it to be delivered by DHL as I did, the cost, as expected, will jump to about $50. For me it was more than worth it. It is a nice and elegant book of good poems):

Clase Turista Publishers (info about the publishers)
Dos Fuerzas Books (where you may buy the book)

Der Darss

Der Darss

Shafts of light in a cathedral of trees,
columns, planes and arches, dark surfaces,
beetles with crimson shields.

The trees are comprehensible in terms of others:
those electrified, wounded, somnolent, vivacious,
and those hospitable trees.

We arrive at men and women,
counterfeited in stone and sinking.
Soon the nearby sea will take them to his garden.

Anwar Al-Ghassani
(A section from the long poem "ID", 1998)
Der Darss: The Darss peninsula, Germany.

Harmony in Gray
Photo: Anwar Al-Ghassani, San José, August 2008

Como llama blanca


Como llama blanca (Anwar Al-Ghassani, Irak)

(Texto del Festival /YouTube)
Memoria del Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín. Anwar Al-Ghassani Qal'at Saleh, Irak, 1937. Creció en la provincia de Kirkuk, el primer y más viejo centro petrolero de Irak. Trabajó en la exploración de petróleo y como maestro de educación artística, para pasar a desempeñarse en Bagdad como traductor y periodista. En 1968 salió del país para estudiar en Alemania, donde obtuvo un doctorado en periodismo de la Universidad de Leipzig. Llegó a Costa Rica en 1979 y regresó a Alemania, posteriormente trabajó también en Argelia para luego, en 1984, radicarse definitivamente en Costa Rica. Cofundador de uno de los grupos literarios más influyentes en la poesía Iraquí y árabe actual, el Kirkuk Group, surgido en los años 50 en la ciudad multiétnica de Kirkuk.

La calidad del sonido y de video no es para decir que bruto, pero estoy muy agradecido a los amigos de la revista Prometeo y del Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín por poner este video en YouTube.
Este poema fue escrito en árabe. Su título "Embellecimiento después de mi nacimiento en Ur" pero ya lo pusieron otro título "Como llama blanca" que me parece bonito.
La lectura se llevó a cabo en una linda sala de cultura en una calle principal, una tarde en la bella Medellín.

Anwar Al-Ghassani

N E W The Jimi Hendrix Poem (second and final version)

Jimi Hendrix slumbering. To the right, a detail from the cover of his 1968 album Electric Ladyland, the final album of the series "The Jimi Hendrix Experience".

Jimi Hendrix

                         (James Marshall Hendrix 1942- 1970)

His music is suspicious knowledge,
smashed at our ears
to maintain us alive till next morning;
sunken vessels, separated, each in a region.

Dreams to pay for,
no celebrations,
ancestral pain, offered
as equilibrium

on roads where we inquire:
Did they already eat?

And they, only on casual encounters, ask:  
O, why the separation?

For no purpose or reason;         
our lives wouldn’t be spared
if we kept silent.

Roads don’t bring the child home;
they overlap and change
as they extend to where values
we cherish and die for
are equalized:

Only the eye,
is image trap and scream
that displays
a hazy white landscape.

Anwar Al-Ghassani
San José, September 30, 2000 / August 15, 2008

N E W Poem for Ana Mercedes in Spanish

Ana Mercedes, Leipzig, 1978

Remota cercanía

Deseo fusionarme con tu fragancia,
el alimento euforizante.

Estar en tu luz es una estadía
entre imágenes de bosques, no tan verdes,
y archivos de ideas y sueños de arte.

Tantas promesas es tu cercanía,
tan futura y segura,
como la calma que en la imaginación,
me donan tus ojos, labios, y tus dedos.

¿Por qué es tan prometedora tu cercanía?
¿Por qué tus dones son los de una santa?

Anwar Al-Ghassani
Berlín, 5 de julio 2008

My dear friend Dr. Saleh Hussain in a forthcoming multimedia spectacle in Berlin
Saleh Hussain and Johanna Pleis
Ein okziorientales Multimediaspektakel


Willi Büsing - Mohira Hakberdieva - Stefan Höppe - Talib Hussein - René Krüger - Hemin Neman - Ana Markovic - Johanna Pleis - Steffen Steglich – Saleh Hussain

Künstlerische Leitung

Saleh Hussain

15. Juli 2008, 21 Uhr - Rroma Aether Klub Theater - Boddinstr. 5 12053 Berlin

NEW --- Poem in Arabic, just uploaded
"Elegy of Ibrahim Zair"
(Unveiling The Voice within The Noise) - Collection - Arabic - 1993

Page - 1 Page - 2 Page - 3 Page - 4

My dearest friends, Ibrahim Zair (1943?-1972) - right -, poet, journalist, graphics designer and painter, and Sargon Boulus (1943-2007) - left -, one of the greatest poets of modern Iraqi and Arabic poetry. The photo was made in an art exhibition in Baghdad in mid sixties.
Sargon Boulus (left) and Ibrahim Zair (right)

Encroachment In Green
- Sumerians abandoning Ur -   

Flight in white-washed vacuum,
a passage through a region in which
they might crash and die or lose limbs.  
They know, they are travelling 
to the site of their new nest and years
will come and go and the fire
in their memory has long ago consumed
wood and silicon in Ur. There will
be no fresh construction. The earth
is here and alive are the hills. 

They see leaves, layers of cellulose,
pierced by sunlight or protected in gray,                         
spotted, exhibitionists,
some entire, others threaded by the wind,
exposing graduations of green and brown,
and some dry, about to become dust,
not premeditatedly placed
as if by a spirit that left them untagged
to be presented as a gift to whoever passes by.

Huge flowers of four dimensional petals, solidified starch, extravagant,
freshening up their outdated sense for procreation.
They harvest some and bring them to an altar. They project them on a screen and observe the nectar dripping from their voluminous violet conic crowns.

They watch, minds fogged by humidity and heat, bodies warm,
secreting a sweet fragrance. Then the protocol master, agitated by intense illumination, would scream: "You sinners! You bandits!", then waves of screeching music dashes out into the dry night.

They harvest the sounds. So much meaning pertains to the chaos. They clinch to their illusions, their only knowledge and shelter. "O, night followed by tender early morning hours", they say, "we have not yet written our farewell from our beloved land. We yet have no tears. Our love is stable and stony for thee our land."

In the night they can not fathom, they snatch their souls from profane concrete and the
embroidery of chromatic steel, outmaneuver them from these plains of screams where fires and flames are dropping on agonizing souls of creatures born without the explicit will of a creator. They fly away into a denser light, to a spacey region where they finally find food.

More follow them, strangers
who are shy and when they
look at them, they say,
“Excuse our eyes.”
They tell the newcomers,
“Sit here for a while and   
be at ease and then leave in
silence. Walk over
the threshold, don't fear the
night. Be aware of those
purposelessly uttered
voices, driven by the
ancient desire to be present,
to be heard and responded to.”

San José, Saturday, July 8, 1995

Surviving Yourself 
Now you are not the same image-dream,
the prohibited, untouchable, my addiction.

At first sight, I had to reject
the new being you became
as you approached independence.

I recall your coarseness,
cynical remarks,
your umbrella,
the showy protection
of my head and shoulders;
your playful breasts,
your stature, none of your choice,
just given and made yours,
your motherly air,
pretension of capacity,
of absolute readiness.

You alluded to a missing invitation,
a reunite, an eliminator of mind´s despair.
You wanted to vanish,
just for a while, and receive me in you,
make the silent transition for both.

That was your reinvention of us. 
All signs of your innocence;
all your newly acquired language,
dumb call heralding a premonition,
undefined in the sweetness of your presence.  

San José, Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Roses of Iraq 
Burning in winter
as cold wind cuts the skin of little hands.

Refuge of souls wandering on plains,
touched by the frosty wind of sun.

Cherished gardner property,
wasted blood, spring water, mourning.

San José, Wednesday, October 14, 1998

Goddess Samia Gamal
(Egyptian belly dancer, 1924 – 1994)

Sie schafft ein immer lebendiges Bild von sich selbst.

(Anspielung an einem Satz von italienischen Architekten Carlo Ratti über Städte die sich ständig dynamisch ändern.)

Our gatherings to watch
her matter and light
transform to body and movement,
were never trivial events.
The to and fro of her body,
within time continuum,
was the pendulum of daily life.

On all days, when we rubbed her skin,
we obtained her adolescent aroma.
Exhibitionist of her body,
her gaming alluded
to virtual regions, her potentials,
solely attainable in dreams,
or as a package of godly bliss,
maintaining alive
the collective joy of our days.

She knew, seas and cities need our gifts;
thus her shoulders rocked seas and cities,
offering them our brotherhood.

Anwar Al-Ghassani
Berlin, Sunday, May 25, 2008

NEW --- More Poems In Arabic Uploaded

I am now uploading more poems in Arabic from the 1993 unpublished collection "Anashidul Ruh Al-Iraqia Al-Haiema" (Cantos Of The Errant Iraqi Soul)

The background story:

Due to my negligence and publishing difficulties this collection, written in 1993, remained sleeping among my papers during fifteen years. I didn´t even try to publish individual poems from the collection (perhaps with the exception of one or two).
I have now decided to do justice to the poems and publish most of the collection here at my Website until I have enough money to publish it as book on demand as I did with my recent collection "Second Patria" (see below on this page), or until some philanthropist comes along and volunteers to finance the publication of the collection.

Due to temporary difficulty with editing Arabic texts, I am scanning the poems and uploading them as images. Please use the zoom device to enlarge the text if necessay.
Finally, without intending to be pretentious, I consider these poems as fairly good, something I do not easily and always state about my poems. Please read and decide for yourself.

Click here to go to the Poetry Section, there click on the name of the collection under "Poems in Arabic - II"

NEW --- Poem from 1992 in Arabic just uploaded
"Sojourn At The Beach In Varna - Humorous And Entertaining For My Friends"
Humorous poem, a homage to my friends
Page - 1 Page - 2 Page - 3 Page - 4

We, poets, are world citizens. We foster intercultural dialog, mutual understanding and peace

My dear friend, poet Dr. Tarek Eltayeb, ambassador of intercultural dialog of Austria in a recent activity.

Dialogtour am Rathausplatz

29. April 2008 am Rathausplatz

Ein großer Andrang von Schulklassen herrschte am 29. April am Rathausplatz, als die Veranstaltung zur „Dialogtour“ eröffnet wurde, bei der ein vielfältiges, multikulturelles Musik-, Film- und Informationsprogramm geboten wurde.

Für Bundesministerin Dr. Claudia Schmied wird Integration zu einem immer wichtigeren Faktor für künftige Bildungserfolge. Im Rahmen der „Dialogtour“ gibt es heute rund 200 Veranstaltungen. Bürgermeister Mag. Matthias Stadler: „St. Pölten liegt mit einem Migrantenanteil von etwas über 11 Prozent eher im unteren Durchschnitt. Es gibt zur Integration ein Angebot auch in den Schulen und Kindergärten, wobei sicherlich ein zusätzlicher Bedarf gegeben ist.“

Norbert Gollinger, Landesdirektor des ORF Landesstudios Niederösterreich, Hermann Helm, Amtsführender Präsident des Landesschulrats für Niederösterreich, Bürgermeister Mag. Matthias Stadler, Bundesministerin Dr. Claudia Schmied und Dr. Tarek Eltayeb, Wirtschaftswissenschafter und Botschafter des interkulturellen Dialogs, bei der „Dialogtour“ am Rathausplatz.
© NÖN-Online 2008

Second Patria - Poems - Recently published

46 poems, 76 pages, written in English about German themes.
Published by Book Surge Publishing.

Cover design: Manuel Salam Al-Ghassani Rodríguez
Cover drawing: Remembering Varna - Figures at the Beach, 1988, by Anwar Al-Ghassani
(original: 21x27cm, watercolor pencils and China ink)

The collection is now available ($10.99) at:

Description: Poems written in English by Iraqi poet Anwar Al-Ghassani as an homage to Germany, his second homeland, where he lived, studied and worked during three periods between 1967 and 1983. Those were years of his emotional and intellectual maturing and growth, of creative and happy times. They were also his years of the motorcycle and of explorations. These poems are also about reminiscences and about his almost yearly visits to Germany. They are about wonderful people, friends and places. Al-Ghassani writes poetry in Arabic, English, German and Spanish.

Read a sample of three poems

Chinese Nude
Nameless tree
in the umbrage of dawn.
O, no milk smell yet,
only the promise of lips.


All is service to my nerves

                     that like to be strained
                     by white silence, that of birth.


Dawn paleness, grey-warm torso,
breasts, hardly visible,
tiny waves of ebbing and flowing tide,
allurers of lips,
nourishers, power of a later wakeup.

Caressing water,
interrupting the flow of my life,
then moving to accompany me
up to whatever destiny.

Rusty-red lips, one dark eye and an eyebrow,
pomp and splendour,
world´s each morning procession,
my share of the promise  -  
our collective hope.

Anwar Al-Ghassani
April 27, 2008

N E W Academic Production - - - Paper in Spanish -->

---> Poetry Promotion in The Web (using media and platforms of conventional Web, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0)
(45 pages, paper in Spanish)

This paper will be presented at my school´s research week (Jornadas de Investigación, ECCC, Universidad de Costa Rica, May 12-16, 2008).

And yet another academic stuff...!

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the founding of our school, Escuela de Ciencias de la Comunicación Colectiva - ECCC (School of Mass Communication Sciences) of the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), the students have designed T-shirts carrying faculty images. Here is "my" T-shirt. It reads: Anwar Rocks, 40 years are nothing. I d ALGHASSANI.

Interpretation: "Anwar rocks", well, I have always tried to do my best to be useful to my students. The "40 years are nothing" alludes to the recently published autobiography of Alberto Cañas, one of Costa Rica´s well-known intellectuals and professor emeritus of the UCR. The book carries the title "80 years are Nothing" and was published on his 80th birthday. That is to say, 80 years, that is not a big deal, I am just warming up. The "o" in the word "no" carries the colors of the Costa Rican flag. As to the "d", this is the logo of the popular Websites editor DreamWeaver. It make reference to the fact that I mainly teach computer-mediated communication. So, instead of the usual heart and "I love ALGHASSANI", you have "I DreamWeaver ALGHASSANI" which is fun and makes a lot of sense !!!!

On my 24th year at my dear ECCC, I would say, 24, 40, 71 - my age - are nothing. O, yes, Anwar rocks and will continue rocking ... I am just warming up !!!!

Thanks to our dear students and their Association and thanks to Fernando Arce for his initiative.

Created by Crazyprofile.com

Autobiographical Photos of Anwar Al-Ghassani From Remote Times

I have started writing the first part of my autobiography (The Iraq Years). These photos are a sample of many photos related to that period:

- The photo where I am standing opposite to a street photographer was made when I was in the second year of the secondary school. The suit I have on was new, but it doesn´t look like new because the quality of the photo has deteriorated. I remember that I wanted to be photographed to celebrate the new suit. Place: Kirkuk. Date: 1950.
- The photo of my father (with me, in shorts, to his right and my late brother Farouk to his left) was taken most probably between 1948-1949. Place: unknown, probably Kifri or Kirkuk.
- Myself standing in what seems to be a field. Place: Kirkuk. Date: around 1965.
- Myself standing in one of those cheap popular bars at Al-Bab Ash-Sharqi in Baghdad. Street photographers used to come to those bars asking people if they wanted to have photos. The name of the studio to which the photograper belonged can be seen down to the right. It reads "Studio Opera". It was one of those photo studios in Al-Bab Ash-Sharqi. Date: 1965-1968.

See previous front page of this Website, the one which was pulled down on Monday, February 4, 2008 and replaced by this page.

The Rupture In Iraq

The past is folded, conserved and stored.
It can now be retrieved as images.

The plains have finished expanding;
mountains, gorges, hills, snow and rivers are silent.
The creatures, noctambulists, roving through darkness
to protect their DNA for their successors.
Day and night, this land runs amok against itself.

I love the features of this land,
contours of date palm trees,
fuzzy horizons, and fata morganas.

I am not the savior.
I produce words to connect
the meandering people to the land;
words - food and comfort.

Anwar Al-Ghassani
Jacó, February 25, 2008


The Beauty of Costa Rica - Ana Mercedes and Anwar at El Aguacate, on their way to the Pacific coast.
January 6, 2006

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