The 2020 Sargon Boulus Award — this year in its third edition — went yesterday to Egyptian poet Emad Abu Saleh.
“In Sargon’s poems, the figure of the poet-translator manifests itself through the stranger who is constantly departing and arriving, with blurred memories of the journey itself.”
“All the poems and colloquial lyrics reflect a particular experience, so why not use them?”
There can be no series on Iraqi poetry without an engagement with Sargon Boulos. It’s coming. In the meantime, poet-novelist-translator Sinan Antoon has published two newly translated Boulus poems in Jadaliyya.
On March 19, ten years will have passed since the US first invaded and occupied Iraq. Poet Sargon Boulus died in October 2007, while the war raged and the Occupation was digging itself in, just a few months after poet Nazik Al-Malaika. Youssef Rakha wrote in 2011: Sargon never gathered wealth, fame or clout; he did … Continue reading 10 Years Later: 2 Translations Sargon Boulus’s ‘A Refugee Tells’
Poet, novelist, and translator Sinan Antoon had a tribute to Iraqi poet Sargon Boulus on Jadaliyya yesterday, the fourth anniversary of Boulus’s death. Antoon (see comment below) is currently at work translating selected works by Boulus, to be published in 2013. I would love to see a collection that traced Boulus’s work and shifts throughout … Continue reading Remembering Iraqi Poet Sargon Boulus
Sinan Antoon has a new Boulus translation in today’s Jadaliyya: “The Corpse”. Coming on the heels of the Nobel-lit three-ring circus (who will it be? it should be Adonis! it should be…!), the poem made me reflect on how little-known the towering, excellent Boulus is in English—outside of Banipal readers.
“The beginning, we choose. / But the end chooses us. / And there is no road but the road.”
“…K k’aaba’ob, che’ob beeta’an yéetel kili’ich t’aan, juntúul ch’íich’ ka’anal u xik’nal máanal u ka’analil ti’ jump’éel ts’oon.”
Our third list of 10 for public libraries — thankfully poetry-heavy — comes from celebrated poet-translator Marilyn Hacker.
“Syrian poets opened crossings and paved paths, molded styles and discovered untouched poetic terrains in Arab poetics. Had we omitted three of them: Adonis, Muhammad al-Maghut and Nizar Qabbani, Arabic poetry would have probably looked very different today.”
“Today is World Poetry Day — and the birthday of Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998) — and thus ArabLit will take an exceptionally eclectic & arguably nonsense tour of the entire history of Arabic poetry in English translation, based on what’s available free online in at least a good (and preferably fantastic) translation.”