The 2020 Sargon Boulus Award — this year in its third edition — went yesterday to Egyptian poet Emad Abu Saleh:
Saleh was born in the Egyptian Delta in 1967, and while he has published a number of collections, he is known for distancing himself from the cultural milieu. Despite that, he is beloved of both poetry readers and critics, who find in his work a deep inquiry into the details of day-to-day existence and a search for the secrets held by common objects.
He was praised by the prize jury for his poetry of “the small concerns” that make up a person’s life now and at all times. His work, the jury said, harks to the poetry of the great Syrian writer Muhammad al-Maghut.
The award is announced each year on the anniversary of the passing of the great Iraqi poet and translator Sargon Boulus, who died in 2007. There is a monetary prize with the award of $3,000.
Two of Emad Abu Saleh’s poems appeared in English translation in Banipal in 2006; his work has also been translated to Spanish, German, Persian, Kurdish, and other languages. He has a book in Spanish, El Elogio del Error, translated by Kamirán Haj Mahmoud.