Totality by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi

Featuring: Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, Sarah Maguire, Yama Yari

By the time I founded the Poetry Translation Centre (PTC) in 2004, I had nearly a decade’s experience of co-translating Arabic, mainly Palestinian, poetry. Thanks to personal friendships, I'd also developed a long-standing interest in Sudan, and I was aware how little Sudanese poetry written in Arabic had been translated into English. In 2002, I inaugurated a series of poetry translation workshops when I was writer in residence at the School of Oriental and African Studies. I was delighted when the Sudanese writer and translator Hafiz Kheir introduced us to Saddiq’s astonishing poetry.

Later, when I established the PTC, I commissioned Hafiz to co-translate Saddiq with the British poet, Mark Ford. Saddiq was one of six international poets we invited o the UK to take part in the PTC’s first World Poets’ Tour in 2005. His wonderful poetry quickly gained him an appreciative audience among non-Arabic speakers. In addition, his arrival here was greeted with huge enthusiasm by the UK Sudanese community, who profoundly admired him for his outstanding poetry, and for his principled opposition to Al-Bashir’s dictatorship.

One of the most impressive aspects of Saddiq’s poetry is its range. In this volume you will find many of his exquisite, imaginative love poems, poems that consider Sudanese history and poems that examine writing and the difficulty and necessity of becoming a poet.

Sarah Maguire, Artistic Director of the Poetry Translation Centre