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from Dayplaces: Showdowns on the Beauty of the World and its Depression

Section IV, Nation, Country, “Nationalism

“Nation,” Country, “Nationalism”

When the agony grows in the Iraqi closed eye, when the bubble slips away and breaks against a wall of sky’s dust: cruelty and the body, memories of the beginning, and the wind stumbling on a spot of old air—that resembles the wind—, or a backyard of heaped scrap iron\ named “The Nation.”


Nation, Country, Without . . .

Bless ”the nation” . . . this marble . . . ! you strayer in the light of day . . . you seller of baskets of love . . . the focus is pulling you, the wilderness of the ultimate gravitation; you are every man, and no body.
The light that embraces the river, was enveloping your “fellow citizens”: The sippers from the sin, like a lust that has not yet come to an end.


Without . . .

Things mingle in darkness\ moss and the day\ the shipmast of the ship\ and the country that ripples in the distance upon the crescent’s welling light.
To be born here, to die here, and to travel in the light’s journey . . . towards the Sin.


from Dayplaces


Naseer Hassan is an Iraqi poet and translator of poetry and philosophy. He was born in Baghdad in 1962 and graduated with a degree in architecture from Baghdad University. He is a member of the Iraqi Writers Union and the Iraqi Journalists Guild and has published four poetry collections in Arabic: The Circle of Sundial (1998), Suggested Signs (2007), Being Here (2008), and Dayplaces (2010). Hassan's collected poems appeared in 2010 from the Arabic Publishing House in Beirut. He has translated into Arabic three books of poetry and one of philosophy: Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems and Critical Readings (the first book on Emily Dickinson in Arabic); Luis Borges: 60 Selected PoemsDays of the Shore: Selections from the New American Poetry 1980-2010; and Asian Philosophies by John Koller. In addition, he has several poetic and philosophical translations forthcoming, including Kierkegaard: A Brief Introduction, Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation, and House of the Star: Poems from Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes. He is a winner of the 2008 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award for working in a highly dangerous situation. Dayplaces, which Hassan translated from the Arabic with Jon Davis, is forthcoming from Tebot Bach Press in 2015. Other poems from Dayplaces have appeared in Drunken Boat, Two Lines: Landmarks, Taos Journal of Poetry & Art, Waxwing, and Poetry at Sangam.

Jon Davis is the author of six chapbooks and three full-length collections of poetry: Preliminary Report (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), Scrimmage of Appetite, for which he was honored with a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry, and Dangerous Amusements, for which he received the Peter I.B. Lavan Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Recent projects include two limited edition chapbooks, Thelonious Sphere (Q Ave. Press, 2014) and Loving Horses (Palace Press, 2014), and a limited edition art book in collaboration with the artist Jamison Chas Banks, Heteronymy: An Anthology (La Nana Creek Press, forthcoming 2015). A new manuscript, Reply All, is nearly complete. Davis directs the low residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.