REMEMBERING HAYAT SHARARA
Mohhamad Mahdi al-Jawahiri
Badr Shakir al-Sayyab theme of discussion during those meetings was renewal of poetic forms and adopting a free verse style.
Badr Shakir al-Sayyab and Lamia Abbas Amara were constantly present at those gatherings, which also attracted other names such as Mohammad Mahdi al-Jawahiri, Hussain Mrouwa, Nazik alMalaika, Akram al-Watari, Buland al-Haidari, and Mohsin al-Amin. Nazik came most of the time in the company of her father Sadiq alMalaika, and sometimes with her brother Nizar.
The three that had the most profound influence on us were Badr, Lamia, and Nazik. Badr was particularly wrathful at the prevalent sociopolitical conditions. He deserted his well-to-do family when he joined the Iraqi Communist Party. That revolutionary mood left its mark on his early poems. Skinny, dark skinned, with large, protruding ears, a big nose, tiny eyes, and lips pushed forward by protruding teeth, al-Sayyab was not particularly good looking. Yet he was highly sensitive and compassionate, always fascinated by beauty in nature and women. He suffered a series of setbacks in his love affairs. He readily fell in love with girls, and would immediately compose poems in their praise but would lampoon them if they turned him down. He was excessively shy. One of those girls who fascinated al-Sayyab was Lamia, his colleague at the High Institute of Teachers, who had inspired many of the poems he recited in her presence at the weekly gathering. She was aware of that and knew how to stoke his affection by her enigmatic glances. His love for Lamia was undisguised.
Lamia combined a smart personality and attractive appearance.
16 BANIPAL 63 – AUTUMN/WINTER 2018