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Fawzi Karim (1945-2019)

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Fawzi Karim We were deeply saddened to learn that Fawzi Karim, well-known Iraqi poet, painter and writer, has passed away at the age of 74. He had written over twenty-three books of poetry, and sixteen books of prose. We were proud to publish two of his collections: Plague Lands and other poems (2011), and Incomprehensible Lesson (2019).

Poet and friend Jenny Lewis says 'I only met the Iraqi poet Fawzi Karim once, at Adnan and Majida Al-Sayegh's London flat, but it made a deep impression on me. I'm re-reading his poems now from his collections - Plague Lands and Other Poems, a PBS Recommendation, and Incomprehensible Lesson. Both are translated in wonderfully vibrant 'versions' by Anthony Howell and have haunting, dreamlike cover artwork by Fawzi himself. The poetry is extraordinary. A poet in exile who has assimilated the rootless, fragmentary nature of exile and can write from the depths of the new culture while taking frequent soundings from his own (Gilgamesh looms). There is huge sadness and a sense of incomparable loss within the literary Arab world at his passing - especially, perhaps, the diaspora, for which he was holding up the flame. That flame has now been extinguished. Fortunately for us his poetry lives on.'

Our thoughts and condolences are with his family.

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