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Bar by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi

Featuring: Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, Sarah Maguire

Sudanese poet Afeif Ismail, describes Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi as one of the best known poets in Sudan, Africa and the Arab world, whose work is a "mystery waiting to be solved".

"His poetry shows a great love of the beauty of African nature," says Ismail, and shows "great skill in enlivening classical Arabic vocabulary with modern idioms. Only when you have observed his many clever, tiny brush-strokes does the whole picture emerge."

It's a body of work shaped by a remarkable process of composition, a way of working which Al-Raddi says is "entirely internal". He begins with an image, a "single word" or sometimes a pattern of words that "creates a certain rhythm" and then works on it in his head.

"Whatever I do in my everyday life it's always there," he explains. "Sometimes working on a single poem could take a few months, just churning, working on it almost line by line - always, non-stop. After that, once the poem is completed in my mind, I write it down."

Al-Raddi has been publishing poetry since he was 15, when his poem The Wind was published in the literary journal Al-Sahwa.

 

From the Guardian's interview with Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi