Poet Of The Month, Leila Samarrai, OPA (Our Poetry Archive) – The Poetry Journal





NilavroNill Talking With

Poet Of The Month


APRIL 2022

NILAVRONILL: Why do literature and poetry in particular interest you so much? Please give us some idea about your own perception of literature or poetry in general.

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: For me, literature is the liberated language of a liberated man/woman. Their journey takes place through created nature, but they do not travel like a tourist touring fantastic archipelagos in search of themselves. They create these archipelagos with their very movement.

An example is my favorite book Dante’s Inferno. Not only does Dante, like tourists, tour different worlds – degrees of consciousness, but he especially

emphasizes the ethical moment without which his work does not exist, and the aesthetic value of Dante’s work goes hand in hand with his ethical attitude. It is clear that hell must be experienced until the last round. Aesthetics has a devastating effect on conformism, aesthetics instead of comfort offers real joy – and literature is intuition and imagination spread in time and space. Aesthetically, it arises from the undisturbed action of force, expressed as the free movement of perception. My aspiration is to look to the abstraction in search of the inner core since pure poetic energy resides in it. I care about that energy, especially when it comes to destroying and visualizing the experiential matrix and everything it senses and creates. I would say that this kind of sensation is unusual and innovative. That is why it is attractive for every curiosity.

NILAVRONILL: How do you relate your own self existence with your literary life in one hand, and the time around you, in the other.

LEILA AL SAMARRAI:  What can I say? These feral times are not all too friendly to poets. But neither are we to it hence I hope that when it passes (and transcience is  ever-present), there will be enough poetic testimonials about who we were and what times we lived in.

NILAVRONILL: Do you believe creative souls flourish more in turmoil than in peace?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: Yes. Art grows stronger in difficult times if we learn to preserve reason, and that we must ignore its dark virtues and celebrate its power and wonder. Our world is poisoned by misery, and it is as if we are wallowing in it. It is in vain to weep over the mind, it is enough to make an effort around it. There is enough strength of character to prepare fruit in the winter of the world.

NILAVRONILL: Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature have been largely extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: Most certainly a bigger audience, in wider circles.. who can nonetheless distil the crux of it all. The Internet is a Babylon where any author can both add and take away a brick laid, depending on one’s affinities.

NILAVRONILL: Now, in this changing scenario we would like to know from your own life experiences as a poet, writer and a creative soul: How do you respond to this present time?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: You need to be a “nerd” to be a poet, that is without a doubt, and without regard for any monetary compensation. Living off of poetry is not all that doable, and success is, evidently, a category always in flux. As far as I’m concerned, I find it natural to express myself in verse, and whether I am far from any kind of recognition, well yes, I am. On the other hand, being recognized in Serbia means picking up all of the provinciality around you and publishing it. Hence I want to be recognized outside of my country’s borders because that is indeed recognition – proper recognition.

NILAVRONILL: Do you believe that all writers are by and large the product of their nationality? And is this an incentive for or an obstacle against becoming a truly international writer?

LEILA SAMARRAI: I come from a mixed marriage (my mother is Serbian – Greek, and my father is Iraqi) The combination of different cultures has certainly influenced me to some extent, as well as the cultural heritage of (ancient) Iraq. It is possible that the Eastern spirit is smoldering in me, in collision with the Western, modern and materialistic world. It would be romantic to understand that I am an unusual person in whom two opposing cultures, religions, customs are united, that in the collision of East and West, unconsciously, through veins, verses intertwine, and Eastern stories flow … and they last. That the curses and martyrdoms of both worlds are united in me. But I share the antithesis of the tribe, I do not belong to any city, no road, no region, I do not come from Europe or Arabia What comes to my mind is that many would like to see me somewhere without realizing that the beauty of my entire “defiant” personality is primarily in my cosmopolitan spirit that belongs to no one. I am a stranger among people, with the feeling that I do not belong to anyone. My Arab origin is traumatically disputed in Serbia and my Serbian origin in the Arab world. I am a stranger, hiding in the shadow of the night and wandering between the walls, whose fear cannot be smelled, because I have reached the extreme of memory, in a life that is a collection of sad and tragic stories, not one, but more lives, not omitting any part, and what I am writing is just choosing the hidden to be shown on the canvas of creation. In that and such a world, I created my own ancient literary homeland in poetry and prose that are often intertwined. Therefore, my literature is marked by fragmentation, confusion, soaked in anxiety, and non-belonging to both nations. In that way, my mark determined the only safe place for me, and that is the place between the worlds, the place where everything is connected that is otherwise separate, because limits exist only in limited minds. And who, if not a poet, would be able to bridge the insurmountable, touch the untouchable and bring the divided worlds closer. So why shouldn’t this be true for others?

NILAVRONILL: Now, if we try to understand the tradition and modernism, do you think literature can play a pivotal role in it?  If so, how? Again, how can an individual writer relate himself or herself to the tradition and to modernism?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: Tradition? – Which creator relies on tradition? He relies on the creative force, not on the dusty paths that others once walked. If a creator bows to another creator, he bows to himself, there is no distance, no humility. What is unconventional is the way out of the vicious circle, the abandonment of the rational order. The purpose of life is truth and it is only tested in truth. And those who were crucified by ideology and tradition and burned at the stake knew that God is pain and that facing pain is such an unconventional thing for a life inspired by conformism -that step that replaces lies with truth.

NILAVRONILL: Do you think literary criticism has much to do with the development of a poet and the true understanding of his or her poetry?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: Criticism is a mediator between the reader and the work of art, in a way that asks us how and in what way this work of art communicates with me, what it tells me about society, and even about myself. If it does not exist, society will end the dialogue, and without dialogue, we cannot talk about any cultural progression. I believe that no artistic or cultural scene can exist without professional criticism, although there is no literary critic to whom a monument has been erected in his honor.  It is necessary to expand the scope of art criticism in order to be more dynamic, diverse, courageous, and to include educational institutions in this process. There isn’t even a Serbian literary scene, nor is it allowed to exist. Critics are at their positions, established authors at their own, primarily political, then literary, or artistic. In short, literature in Serbia only exists at the level of gossip. It is a complete systematic collapse here, and with zero respect for the author and copyright, nothing will get better and Serbia will remain a literary black hole, irrespective of the vast number of people willing and capable of writing something. In such cultural darkness, everything will become a critique, everyone will be a critic and a nightmare about the space of personal interests will come true. I shudder when I read ‘thunderous applause, or, for example, descriptions of something ‘beautifully conceived’ or ‘phenomenal’ because it means nothing, but I also consider radical ‘critical’ attacks that stem solely from personal experience to be trivial and destructive. Everyone suddenly knows how to assess how flat, for example, the characters are, as if I were now writing about clogged arteries and suggesting surgery.

NILAVRONILL: Do you think society as a whole is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet, or your poetry altogether?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: The artist himself can abstract circumstances, act as if they do not exist. No power, no regime, no social catastrophe can take away the joy of creation, and that is the point. Everything that the world created, and that was sublime and beautiful, was never the fruit of a rational approach. That is why nothing that is sublime and beautiful can be rationally explained That problem, we see, arises forever. There are people who determine the suitability and unsuitability of a work of art. Suddenly, those who talk about the crime become guilty, not those who committed the crime. Things turn around and suddenly a normal society looks like a totalitarian one, life in a city looks like life in an occupied city. When the Nazis asked Picasso why he painted Guernica, he said: I did not paint Guernica, but you Picasso was the personification of an artist faced with the possibility of destroying his work forever – there is also the story of the monstrous art. Unsuitable artists are an eternal problem of society

NILAVRONILL: Do you think people in general actually bother about literature?  Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: There is a Latin saying: Beware of a man who has read only one book. The age of consumerism has created a world where we solve every problem or affliction of the spirit by shopping. Capitalism has definitely done its thing, so shopping has become a kind of pleasure, psychotherapy, a part of the day that makes our lives meaningful. The fact is, we have become slaves to shopping, things, and marketing. Film, television, the Internet – all these are media that offer content to modern man in a more interesting, and perhaps easier, way, which greatly influences the fact that the book is read less and less, and more and more viewed from afar. The statistics on how few people in Serbia read books, visit bookstores and fairs or even have their own library is devastating, and such data are especially devastating when we learn that the annual membership fee in libraries is only 400 dinars and that we can always borrow books from friends. What to say? Artists in the age of technology and the fast pace of life are made up of a handful of like-minded people, and only 3 percent of people visit the theater. Although e-book reading is on the rise, there are still fans of the smell of paper and print, so the ratio is half-and-half. Although, it doesn’t matter how or what, it is important to read and enrich our lives in the most beautiful way.

NILAVRONILL: We would like to know the factors and the peoples who have influenced you immensely in the growing phase of your literary life.

LEILA AL SAMARRAI:  My grandmother, Gorica Trajković, a painter and book lover, recommended books to me to read. I have been reading since I was four. Emil Zola, Gogol, French and Russian classics, mostly. I was amazed by Zola’s brutal, in fact, life storytelling technique in which, as if I were present in the novel “L’Assommoir”, I followed the ruin, the loss of moral compass, the tragic fate of the heroine to the end, starvation, dying … as a dog. It is similar to Flaubert. I could almost taste the poison in my mouth, through Madame Bovary. The writer followed all the phases of her poisoning to the very end, I don’t know exactly how many pages, quite… Life. The way life flows.

NILAVRONILL: How would you evaluate your contemporaries and what are your aspirations for or expectation from the younger generation?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: The world of prose and poetry is split into various sects which do not recognize the quality and poetic approach of their peers. What will come in the next hundred years from all of this, I shudder to think.

NILAVRONILL: Humanity has suffered immensely in the past, and is still suffering around the world. We all know it well. But are you hopeful about our future?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: I believe in man, which is why I say Maybe where there surely must be a Yes.

NILAVRONILL: What role can literature in general play to bring a better day for every human being?

LEILA AL SAMARRAI: It teaches us how to think, how to express ourselves. Teaches us compassion. There is a quote there from Heine: ‘What does this solitary tear mean? It so blurs my gaze.’ Poetry gives deeper insight into that which we might have missed in the daily rush of things.

LEILA AL SAMARRAI was born on October 19th, 1976 in Kragujevac, Serbia. She writes poetry, short stories, and plays, her work largely containing the motives of fantasy and humor. Her debut collection of poetry „The Darkness Will Understand“won the First Prize in the competition organized by the Student cultural center of Kragujevac in 2002. She has had her work published in numerous local magazines, both in print and electronic form. Some of her notable works include the collection of short stories „The Adventures of Boris K.“ by Everest Media and (as co-author and critic) „Poetry Against Terror: A Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism Kindle Edition“. Her works were published in Serbian, Hungarian, and English. She has won numerous awards for her written works, including third place as a representative of Serbia for the aphorism „Stars and Us“ of the „Beleg“ competition and three separate awards in the „3-5-7 – A Story in a Moment“ story competition, as part of the „Helly Cherry“ competition, both in 2011. She currently lives in Belgrade with her three cats. Samarrai uses absurdism and the elements of farce in her plays. She favors surreal short stories, horror fiction, satire, and humoresque, enjoying the vaudeville style of structure interwoven with the style of “Pythonesque” stories. Her goal in literature is to weave fantastic realism into horror fiction, as well as utilizing magical realism and the surreal.

Posted by Our Poetry Archive 



You can read some of my poems published in the April issue of OPA – AN INTERNATIONAL WEB JOURNAL PUBLISHED EVERY MONTH at the link


Penny Dreadful

Butterfly Idyll

Thus Spoke My Mother

Looking back in laughter

I’m dying Roman

This is the last stanza from my poem “Butterfly Idyll” * alternative title The Screams Of The Butterfly

BUTTERFLY: Death, I heard you while you were breathing…

I heard you while you were sleeping…

I heard you while you were weeping….

I heard you while you were screaming…

Centuries of noosed escape,

Eons of eluding fate.

Shrieked clarions called silent,

On immortal heights.

The laughter of the butterfly.



Let me consider a while, in fracturing mirror;

The bells ring threateningly impassable path collapse.

I exist on thick stratus clouds obsidian laps,

Laughing mania maniacal teeth

At pitchforks and torches, flames and horses, mobs malicious.

I will offer you no retreats.

My existence radials from metaphors cores,

Signs of times unsublime; trumpets and seals,

Exsanguination moon and ashing sun tides,

At my manifestation surfacing riling rise!

You will find me where I am remote.

You will find me where I am cunning and silent.

You will seek me where I am circumspect.

Let me consider a while,In fracturing mirror;

The silence ripples out in wasp honey articulate,

Sickly sweets decaying desiccates.

I am lurking unholy gothics,

Under invocations ancient,

I am plague flesh fevered,

Howled slowly in spreading bleeding blacks.

I am reviled hearts in atavisms,

Abhorrence in hidden self harm hinderances.

Hidden in underneath’s, a human heart screams for ascent,

A new creation, a new monster, a new confluence.

Judge me, O Efreeti, according to me…

Dying off into a terrified…wisping…whimpering…whispers

© Leila Samarrai

Photo Credit: The False Mirror, 1928 by Rene Magritte

It’s tolling the zither quietly…

It is the time of the dead, 

From beginning to end,

The time of the dead.

The time of the living – in the vapids and cruels;

The black is breaking…

The black is breaking…

The Ides of March, there lay the albatross,

Poor beggar – unknowing, unthinking and blind,

In a threatening verse he preferred to die.

But winged Icarus pervades,

It’s tolling the zither quietly,

And the wind cries: “Anemone”

The key sum of all things


Cello made of sponge

and rosewood

releasing a flow that is a unison

of hold-able


Of musicke


a short, tight strum,


worth the reed

the sap blood of living things has found

and will ink a new font

in what’s left of the human hour.

FILM: Film’s the mad black Easter egg

for a great many people.

under Phoenix brood, inhaling the smokes

of flesh &n’ blood.

Freudian, drowning in the human average,

id hearing the threat of being lock’t-in.

all set to a one-song opera.

damn good stuff.

Mediate on and harvest

to my level of capability

from these lighten bolts

disguised as roses,

these fences made from prism glass,

these marrows which no bone

of the human or the universe could turn aside:

But then, again, isn’t the key sum of all things best played on a harp

made of pyrite, snakes &n’ roses caught in the strum?

When silence shortly breaks through the syllables

Bright through the eternal year

Of dragons that roar on the enchanted shore;

Locked in its trains, ships, androids

Merciless, two-faced porcupines swung

from branch to branch

with their infernal pull, nimble as the quivering needle-wheels

Mystically glittering in the ghostly space

Offers Virgo withered fingers

O despised spirit and mute despair,

When silence briefly breaks the syllables

Or the polyphony of purple flashing bats


the seed erodes the bowels of life.

You sink into the abyss of sad evil,

you build the tower on the cape

of a pig’s sword.

That’s life.

it’s neither outrageous nor a magical drama

but a detail of an indifferent plot

Against the colossus – a gaping hole,

From the chasm of the tortured within the giant;

The power of this perspective shattered thou,

the lightning that shoots through the ears of our monsters

What a deliberate, unhappy session

Scream with me and torturechambering with me

….the-snuffy-exam-r…. rigorosum perspective

Horror, horror and despair for everyone

with nerves of steel

Scratches and rakes of splintered

under the veneer of beauty deep


I want to be an artificial Picasso guitar

42 strings, 4 necks and 2 sound holes

Fire sounds are in fashion

Be careful not to burn yourself with it!

Another liar

A messenger in disguise

The bush a little back (h) End of the god

As the night turns wicked!

Here is the hollows angry furrows

And the inflamed tongue that licks greedily

The shining rhombohedron

and the flesh of the flesh of a tree;

that grows

Death, king of our civilisations,

Discourses, Dialectics, Métiers, Measures, Our…

Designed for shaft-driven machines

Are you bringing bats?

Unconsecrated bodies on the ground

Fear not.

Bessmertnyi Koschchei, the boogeyman is coming
Leaving behind the Tree of Life and its last essence!
You’ve to endure one myth after another,

Ew, you ecumenical Mary
Become the womb of my soul and bear

Uncoffined corpses on the ground

The pulse of the grave, the mute of the mute, the color, the fraction,

Hard living, hard living in eternity.

Author: Leila Leila Al SamarraiPhoto Credit: The Garden of Earthly Delights, Right Panel Acrylic Print, Hieronymus Bosch



Part One


This is a time for a single canopy
at the intersection of summer roads
This is a time for all
these dark blue little knights, harlequins,
had lost their sense of intrigue – from behind the mask
of a two-headed monster
Horn-rimmed thick glasses partially clouded
the murky look of the vulture.

And in false sleep you are born ruinous

The Andean bear pointed his muzzle at you.
His hair was like a cockatoo
after his crest was plucked out.
‘Tis the season of giving roses,
a golden petal for the first time seen

Petal, a complete structure shaped like a bone
within the red coffin of oasis
’tis the season of taking,
of implanting self-possession, is dictated by a trigger,
like a revolver trigger which tears down

every cell
in the great earthquake
each bar taken out by small grippers
bent toward the oath of time dying

Laugh, you… sniggering miniature knots
get sentimental, damn you
Imagine that you are intentional
Sensitive, of no consequence.

and what you saw – IT.
and what weighs upon the heart- cut it,
with a white noose
and around the Great Bear’s neck
From the fruit. From the crack


Part Two:


Rabies and foreigners.
They’re boiling
green fire.

Fighting them is impossible.
Their world survives, their red eyes are
aflame with a glow
of a killer’s sword.
They chop off heads, eat limbs,
and all of it together, as per a deal.
They shake after what they do to you,
fall to pieces – and they do not stop.

By the Apate, in the twilight
catch several and kill for Eirene
the gray-haired old East-European immigrant,
each breath making her larynx inflate.
Cancerous growth in her larynx are
aching to burst out.
As does the barrel of the gun peering from out
of a white rug wrapped and on her knees.

Do they paint, do they talk …
not only – All suitors of all sorts themselves enthral –
into the weaver-room; and there, there,
where the azure globe
of the Penelope’s needle burned
they leap forth, mortally self-wounded.

Spin…Spin Spin…Spin, you.. wicker backet!

Miss Good Willa and Her Miss Hyde

July, Belgrade

Once, and it wasn’t that long ago,

A year by fire spewing dragon reckoning,

Sat a certain Good Willa, ambassador from the

Balkans.With a woefully harried cough,

Dry wretches in the anxious,

Transpositions of fissioning,

Dejection divisioning in cognitioning.

Id and Ego in fracturing are dancing,

A new being born in the reckoning.

How she found herself in the Balkans was a


As well as much the rest of her her short but

strange life.In the beginnings; a new entity is screaming,

The being of her being stretching out from her decreeing

:”And the truth is that ultimately it’s less important who she is than I”

My eager companion mocks the metaphysical,

The ancient God’s and mystics.

Nisaba and Athena and Thoth in é-dubba


While I wrote my histories on Heathoremes’s

shore,In races of divine wisdom adores at holm-

currents folklore.

I – Jormungand!

I wade onto the devils’ blasphemy,

Chiselled inside collides,

Sphinx womb resides,

Where dead Oedipus,

Murders father-Chronos in time.

Tied to the flute of Pan,

from which the,

(un)maker Logos,

does not reach.

Cross mocks and chosen ones,

Beating ribs to broken,

Saint Peter-esque inverted token.

Awoken descendants of new Babylon towering,

Unborn children mourning quartering.

I – Malice striker!

I urinate into the Lethe,

Scattered the heads in their beds,

Of Pandora’s bastards,

I kiss the wound of Caesar,

As predicted by Genesis.

Good Willa ravaged tablets in malignant villa,

Short durations salacious malicious soul.

Drawing neurotics in patterning,

correspondingly lines crossed and shattering.

Making her trappings in curriculum splattering.

The wild watches accusingly, mocking; daft

minded creature weakling she.

Dubsar making donations in the night, curbing

poverty fight.

Because the world will be watching

.Burned and borned offspring of thoroughbred

Balkan fire.

The laden-with-glory seen afar poor charger,

War-steeds unrelenting hunting thunder.

Prey to torrenting Turks, battle of Horns plunder.

Of Hattin I ponder:

Willa, well meaning woundable sapped,

Division duality, dichotomy will remake,

Never again foul creature, the damn thing will

hear you.

I, Good Willa now shall this my choice be!

In tones taunting pamphlets articulation,

Fearful fantasy to frighten extremes to


Retreats born without intermissioning.

Fox terrier’s reaved of nastiness,

Princess screams hoary callousness ,

Go away you are not the devilish beast you think

you are!

Nameless creature I select without regrets,

Whispers in my ear: all man is ugly and vile.

In sardonic witch trail, should I…

Mock them with unquestionable brittle mind?

Utterances of the beast in me:

Carrying longs lists of Leonidas’s howling


Sword-fury seized by his own glorious runes.

Rapturous rampart blazed volcano, devils


The original thought croons lyrical thesis’s,

Praising glorifies the saviour, the torchbearer,

the dreamer, the believer.

Victorians swoons, in praise I pull out of these


And swear sacrificial fealty to sun and moon.

Sun worshipping bloom in eternal Junes.

Of rhapsodic worshipfully the sun in true

portraits of passion,

And a thousand spells dispatch,

As a thousand sacrifices summoning…

My perfect victory.

Time 2

All equally facing the sun but the fate of various …

There are those who sprouted where they were never sown

There are those who bravely sprouted but never got used to themselves

There are those who loved anything but anything on the high branch

And on top of that suffering, we didn’t even call them

Obsessed with the time that violently enters us

Does anyone remember a time that didn’t let them down.

This Beggar’s Night

Like night, like death
be quiet, be apparition
grew near the nether region, from copper wires
at the bottom of the river, from the roots of the water
this wrath’s thrown to the ground
and brings a revolver to the temple
this anger defiled by isotherm primitiveness
this hunger of green blood; this night;
these combat boots, all horseshoes buried in the spine,
with breasts parted to the womb
this .. bumpy night; this night, this burping vampire
this …
a brothel night from the past
this caesarean section from the uterus of things
this desire for a world that is spit out;
four walls and a bastard, all that fever
and all around, emptiness, in the mud, among the pigs
through the seventh hole at the end of the flute
through rotten rags of sputum
this beggar fell into the mud quite fresh;
this night; this impossibility of light; her rotten rags
stained with violent shadows
her shod shoes – like open cemeteries
We buried her in that toga pulla and it’s all mud, and here are the rooms –
by which the brains in semidarkness rot.
these old scars, rebled
they did not spring in fear and trembling
They let Evil sing with owned words

Measuring life like measuring death
boiling wax from the nostrils of an enraged angel
a mountain that does not call upon god
but on Hamlet’s waiting.

Smoke and puking, a saturnine gob
muttering phosphorus
from fiery insomnia.
Firefly. Bursting. Eternally in existence


Is it applicable also to stone?

Behold! Should you not dying, live;and living;die.

.. from the veil outward…

Ornaments and objects

A shrine to

Malleable walls

Cave jewelry

The falling through

The respiration by spilled images

Blazed with the day

In which I drowned

My inner Bishop

Bring back the change

Merely muffled roars and groans

In time.

You sing that song


Read that song.

That same stupid song

For the last three decades

This song you sing every morning

Where’s the song you’re gonna sing?

As the Deep is going down


You plunge into maelstrom of

Recycled paper

I saw, I felt, I sank

You got tased

You experienced extensive

Art production.

Surrender, fighgting and fighting  surrender

Is it applicable also to stone?

Ah I hate when liquid rock

Dips like that.