A “Day of Creativity” for Poet Ashraf Fayadh

Rachel Cordasco

Staff Writer

Rachel Cordasco has a Ph.D in literary studies and currently works as a developmental editor. When she's not at her day job or chasing three kids, she's writing reviews and translating Italian speculative fiction. She runs the website, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

If you detest censorship (and I know you do), then you hate it both at home and abroad, which is why you should know about the fate of Saudi-Arabian-born Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh.

According to, Fayadh was originally sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, but is now serving eight years in prison with the threat of 800 lashes. He is accused of “spreading atheism” through his poetry, along with other blasphemy-related charges.

Come stand with other artists and writers from around the world (including Wole Soyinka and Orhan Pamuk) to protest this treatment of an artist engaging in free expression through poetry (see suggestions on ArabLit).

Let’s post his poetry and support his right to free expression. Below I’ve linked to work of his that you can find online.

“Tense Times” (The Guardian)

“The Last Line of Refugee Descendants” (translated by Jonathan Wright;

“A Space in the Void” (translated by Jonathan Wright;

“On the Virtues of Oil Over Blood” (translated by Mona Zaki;

“Disputed” poems (

Petroleum is harmless, except for the trace of poverty it leaves behind on that day, when the faces of those who discover another oil well go dark, when life is blown into your heart to extract more oil off your soul for public use… That… is… the promise of oil, a true promise.

the end.

(from “Disputed” poems in Instructions Within)