R.I.P. Sargon Boulus

A kind reader emailed to inform me of the passing of Iraqi poet Sargon Boulus. Here is a lovely piece about Boulus and his work by fellow Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef, who recounts the last time he saw Boulus, already very sick, at a literary festival in a small town in France. Youssef eulogizes Boulus, saying:

وأقول إنه الشاعرُ الوحيدُ…
هو لم يكن سياسياً بأيّ حالٍ.
لكنه أشجعُ كثيراً من الشعراء الكثارِ الذين استعانوا برافعة السياسة حين تَرْفعُ…
لكنهم هجروها حين اقتضت الخطر!
وقف ضدّ الاحتلال، ليس باعتباره سياسياً، إذ لم يكن سركون بولص، البتةَ، سياسياً.
وقفَ ضد الاحتلال، لأن الشاعر، بالضرورة، يقف ضد الاحتلال.
سُــمُوُّ موقفِه
هو من سُــمُوّ قصيدته.

And here’s my (humble) translation:

And I say he is the only poet…
He was not political in any case.
But he was more courageous than many other poets who used the banner of politics when it suited
and then abandoned it when it presented danger.
He stood against occupation, not because he was political, since Sargon Boulus was not political at all.
He stood against occupation because the poet, by necessity, stands against occupation
The eminence of his position
is the eminence of his poem.

You can read the rest of Youssef’s piece here.

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