Mar 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Florentine - Articolo su Hasan Atya al Nassar

E-mail Stampa PDF

Remembering Hasan Atiya Al Nassar

Florence’s literary community mourns the poet

Baret Magarian

You might have seen him around—a shambolic figure wandering the streets of the centro storico, a rucksack stuffed with books weighing him down, his silvery hair unkempt and wiry as though ruffled by a perpetual wind.


He was a character, someone you noticed, but his modest attire gave no hint of his status as one of the world’s most respected international poets. He passed away on Christmas Day 2017 after sustaining a fatal brain injury brought on by a fall. To those of us who knew him and loved him, such as myself, Florence seems strangely diminished.


Hasan Atiya Al Nassar was born in Nassiriya, Iraq. He fled his native country as a pacifist who objected to the war with Iran, under the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein, which ordered the execution of one of Hasan’s brothers.  Arriving in Italy in 1980 he lived in exile, first in Bologna, subsequently in Florence. Hasan wrote in Arabic and Italian, and his works were published in Italy, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia and the United Kingdom. His poetry has been translated into English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese. Several important critics praised his work, including Francesco Stella of the journalSemicerchio, and he won many prizes during the 1990s and early 2000, including first prize in the Concorso di Poesia Città di Castelfiorentino in 1993 and the national poetry prize Maria Marino della città di Caltagirone in 2003. Despite these credentials and the acclaim he garnered as a poet, Hasan’s life as an exile was more often than not marked by extreme poverty and hardship.

There was in him a refinement and exquisite sensitivity, a softness which was greater than his moments of surface anger and vitriol.

Hasan Al Nassar was a complex, at times fiery man. He and I would often argue and clash, but we always managed to make peace and to resume our friendship. There was in him a refinement and exquisite sensitivity, a softness which was greater than his moments of surface anger and vitriol. I often noted in his (unusual for an Arab) green-blue eyes a marked innocence so that—for me at least—ultimately Hasan was child-like, with all of a child’s good-natured glee. If one paid him a compliment about his poetry you could immediately see his eyes light up: the poetry was the thing that meant the most to him and sustained him. I was often struck by his ability to lift me out of my own depressions and black moments. This was the sign of a distinctive soul, a man whose problems were perhaps far more serious than those of the average human being, a man who was forced to go for days without eating, and whose flat was often without electricity or heating; and yet he remained, despite it all, kindly.


This gentleness characterises his verse as well and is implicit in the poetry’s lyrical finesse, in its Biblical cadences that draw on hypnotic patterns of repetition, its simplicity, its profoundity of insight. Passages of searing melancholy abound in the poems of Hasan Al Nassar, as he talks of the blighted, scorched earth, the loneliness of exile, the sufferings of love and the consolations of nature. He achieved universality, sincerity, with the authentic accents of a mystical, oriental writer whose home has been snatched away from him.


In the early 21st century maybe we have all become a little bit like Hasan, the rapid changes brought on by technology and globalization having

stripped us of our sense of belonging and of our certainties. In a way, Hasan Al Nassar was an everyman, whose works give voice to the dispossessed, the homeless, those who have been cast out of Eden or, worse, never glimpsed it. In one of his finest, most visionary poems he writes of escape, and of vanishing, of a kind of dissolving: “Sparirà il corpo dal suo desiderio/Sparira dalla sua smania… Fuggirà l’assassino perché non ha una vittima.”


But the poetry of Hasan Al Nassar offers a kind of antidote against dissolution. Like all art worthy of the name it scores a victory in the battle against life’s transience.



Concorsi & Festival

Ultime Nove

Silvio Terenzi . 25 Marzo 2019
Massimiliano Cusumano "ISLAND TALES" "Ballarò" - Official HD Un disco di spessore e forza poetica, visioni che sembrano reali e forme date in pasto alla fantasie e alle speranze. Chitarrista e compositore siciliano: Massimiliano Cusumano pubblica...
DEApress . 25 Marzo 2019
26 marzo, ore 17.30   Alba Donati presenta   Stefano Crespi,  Immagine, voce femminile. Arte e poesia (Le Lettere)     (ingre...
Silvana Grippi . 23 Marzo 2019
Ufficio Stampa DEApress comunica: Martedì 2 Aprile ore 17.30 Giardino dei Ciliegi Riccardo Torregiani Antirazzista, resistente, uomo di pace. a cura di Emanuela Giugni e Moreno Biagioni Edizioni Piagge ConLuisa Petrucci, LiberetutteDebora Pi...
DEApress . 23 Marzo 2019
Istanbul, 20.3.2018 processo contro l'associazione di avvocati CHP, dichiarazione finale degli osservatori letta da Fabio Marcelli all'uscita dall'aula: We international observers, lawyers from Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Greece and The Net...
Silvana Grippi . 22 Marzo 2019
17esima edizione del Korea Film Fest Hotel Savory - conferenza stampa e intervista all'attore Jung Woo-sung  Elisabetta Vagaggini - ph.Silvana Grippi Riccardp Ghelli - p. Silvana Grippi      
DEApress . 22 Marzo 2019
Foto di Andrea Berti
DEApress . 22 Marzo 2019
  Le GIORNATE FAI DI PRIMAVERA tornano il 23 e 24 marzo alla loro 27° edizione con l'apertura di 1100 luoghi straordinari di tutta Italia e il Gruppo FAI Pistoia, con la collaborazione del Gruppo FAI Giovani Pistoia, offre l'opportunità special...
DEApress . 22 Marzo 2019
‘Marcia per il Clima, contro le grandi opere inutili e la devastazione Ambientale 23 Marzo 2019 Piazza Repubblica, ore 14,00 - Roma - Noi mamme, il 23 marzo, saremo a Roma alla ‘Marcia Per il clima, contro le grandi opere inutili e la devas...
DEApress . 22 Marzo 2019
Di seguito riportiamo l'articolo pubblicato su Radio Onda d'Urto il 20/03/2019 FIRENZE DOMENICA 31 MARZO MANIFESTAZIONE PER HEVAL TEKOSHER.   “Il corpo di Lorenzo è stato recuperato, ce lo ha confermato  la Farnesina: ora...

Galleria DEA su YouTube