Baghdad, Mon Amour

Trade Paper – $18.95

ISBN 978-1-931896-44-3
Publication Date
April 2008
Page Count
202 pages
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5

Baghdad, Mon Amour

Selected Writings of Salah Al Hamdani
Salah Al Hamdani

Baghdad, Mon Amour is a memoir by Salah Al Hamdani centered on his imprisonment under Saddam Hussein, his subsequent exile in France for more than thirty years, and his emotional return to Baghdad and seeing his family again after all those years with feelings of tremendous joy but also guilt for having “abandoned” them. The beauty of Al Hamdani’s prose and poetry is skillfully captured in Sonia Alland’s translation.
About the Author

Salah Al Hamdani is a French-Iraqi poet and actor. Born in Baghdad in 1951, he has lived in exile in France for the last three decades. He started writing as a political prisoner in Iraq around the age of twenty. He is also the author of numerous works in both Arabic and French.

Sonia Alland lives in both New York City, where she is a longtime public school volunteer, and southern France. She has been translating the works of the French writer Marie Bronsard and has also participated in her husband’s anthropological research in both France and Catalonia, Spain.


"Sometimes, very rarely, a poet emerges from the depths of time, emblematic and enigmatic, to embody the horror and the beauty and the compassion and the prophetic clarity so unique to this craft of shaman, as dancer of the broken heart. Such a person is ageless. He is of the company of the ancient ones, the masters. Those who speak directly 'from my heart to your heart.' He speaks of the essential, of the human condition. And we are ashamed. And we weep. Such a man is Salah Al Hamdani. We recognize him. I wish to salute the thin, slightly clothed boy with the torn sandals, and over him an austere sky—from a country where too many child soldiers are buried under the starred flag of the night. I honor the mature, keening exiled poet who now looks at a poor moon in the middle of the night, vibrating to the rhythms of the clouds. May he find peace."—Breyten Breytenbach

"In this selection of prose and poems, poet and actor Hamdani depicts his journey out of Iraq to exile in France and back to his birthplace some 30 years later. Between these two epochs, stories of struggle, loss, longing, and love evolve inextricably, written in a language charged with passion and high sentimentality...Recommended for large public and academic libraries."—Library Journal

"If any one poet can make a difference, it's someone like Al Hamdani...[he] is pure lightning."—Rattle Poetry Journal