Sudanese Sound Poet Kamal Elgizouli Dies ‘After a Life Full of Giving’

NOVEMBER 6, 2023 — Sudanese sound poet and human-rights lawyer Kamal Elgizouli, whose work “pops and bristles with his iconic and vibrant marriage of pictorial and auditory,” died in the early hours of the morning in Cairo. He had gone into the hospital after undergoing surgery the month before.

The Sudanese writer died “after a life full of giving,” says the obituary in Al Taghyeer.

Elgizouli was born in Omdurman in 1947, which is also where he received his education. He earned his Master’s of Law in 1973, with a specialization in International Law, from the then-Soviet University of Ukraine, and also earned a degree in translation from the same university.

His cultural and intellectual contributions were in multiple fields: literature, politics, law, and human rights. He published several books and collections of poetry, including Omdurman Comes on the Eighth Train, Diary from Omdurman, The Mountainous Poem, and The Gust of the Wind Behind a Rusty Gate, which cover the 1970s to the 1990s and have been issued collectively as a complete set.

ArabLit contributor Lemya Shemmat has written, of Elgizouli’s work:

The texts are remarkable not only for their vigorous and colourful auditory details and textures, but also for providing an encyclopedic sonic range and diversity. There are unconventional collocations and references: “the wind that rattles its way into the leaves, the clap of the dragonflies’ wings, the barking of homeless dogs and agonizing meow of cats’ empty stomachs, the whistling of the wind in the corners, the sigh of a palm tree in water, the shiver of bare trees in the cold dusk, and the trudging thud of a logger amidst a jungle of sounds.”

Al Taghyeer notes that he had been “a persistent opponent of the deposed regimes of the dictators Jaffar Nimeri (1969-1985) and Omar al-Bashir (1989-2019). His opposition to the two governments, cost him many years in prison and detention under these two governments.”