Review Of Knife Sharpener By The Assyrian Iraqi Poet Sargon Boulus Published In Diode

Image: Banipal Books, UK

Image: Banipal Books, UK

Here is a nibble of the review:

In 1963 Sargon Boulus, aged 22, crossed the desert from Iraq to Lebanon on foot, too young or stupid to be fearful, an illegal immigrant without a passport. He carried with him a near empty suitcase containing a friend’s manuscript of King Lear (translated from English to Arabic) to be delivered to a mutual mentor, Yousif Al-Khal, upon arriving in Beirut.

Diode is an electropositive poetry journal based at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. It tends to post some of the shiniest shards of contemporary poetry around and has introduced me to new poets like Catherine Pierce, whose Girls of Peculiar rocked my world. Diode is following the new trend of publishing all content free online.

One of the side effects of living in Dubai is access to a growing collection of Arabic literature in translation. I’m not in school anymore but I am giving myself a crash course on the region’s canon with ambitions to know and quote Boulus, Mahfouz, Al Aswany, Adonis and others. I’m forever visiting Banipal, the magazine of modern Arab literature, for reading assignments. Despite all these recently cracked spines, my favorite Arab author remains the late poet Mahmoud Darwish. I carry his book, “The Butterfly’s Burden” from country to country in my handbag.

You can read the full-length version of my review of Knife Sharpener here