Qassim Haddad was born on the island of Muharrad in 1948. From early on he was reluctant towards academic constraints, yet an avid reader, largely self-taught, and working, as an adolescent, as a construction worker in order to help support his family.
His involvement in the country’s opposition movement earned the young revolutionary five years in prison. Following his release he worked at the public library of and shortly afterwards founded, as a twenty-one year old, the writers’ association, the first organisation of this kind within the Arab world. He was soon elected to its presidency.
In 1970 Haddad was a founding member of the theatre group »Awal« and was also editor-in-chief of the literary journal »Kalemat«, edited by the writers’ association. That same year he published his first volume of poetry, »Al-Bishara« (t: The good omen). This fierce and explicitly political verse brought him immediate and widespread popularity.
In 1971 obtained its independence from. Haddad has earned the reputation of the most important poet of his country as well as one of the leading representatives of Arab poetry.
His just under twenty volumes of poetry document, above all, an artistic legacy, which is ever receptive to new influences, themes and forms. »I respect the traditions of classical Arab poetry. But I recognize no authorities. Sometimes I think to myself, language is my property. However, I respect it, I bear a strong love of language. … Language is no tool. And we have the ability to constantly create around it. I am engaged with how one can discover the new possibilities of language and new styles. «
The breadth of poetic forms, for the most part avant-garde, that Haddad has employed ranges from free verses to prose poems to visual poems. Since the eighties he has collaborated time and again with photographers and painters who not only illustrate his work but also inspire it, as for instance in the trilingual volume »The Blue Impossible« (2000).
The sociopolitical content of his first volumes was followed in the eighties by the description of existential states of being such as anguish and solitude, which Haddad renders in increasingly ambiguous and complex texts with recourse to Arab surrealism and the use of pieces from traditional poetry.
In 1994 Haddad created the most important Internet forum for Arabic poetry with the website www.jehat.com. He worked for the Ministry of Information since 1980 and in 1997 was made exempt thanks to his poetic output.
Haddad has been awarded the Prize of the Lebanese Cultural Forum (Paris) and the most renowned Arab literary prize, the Sultan Owais Prize for Poetry.
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