6 Poems: The Self-translations of Sargon Boulus

via Arabic Literature and Translation:

The poet-translator Mona Kareem has an essay up in The Babel Review of Translationsissue D9:

The essay, “He Goes to the Place: Sargon Boulus Translates Himself and Others,” is accompanied by five translations: two where Boulus translates himself, two of Auden, and one to make you read Derek Walcott’s “Love after Love” afresh. They are all side-by-sides and make their own masterclass in translation.

As Kareem notes in her essay, Boulus’s headstone in California sums him up thus: “Sargon Boulus (1943-2007), Beloved brother, Renowned Assyrian poet, Founder of Free Verse Arabic Poetry movement, Translator of Shakespeare, Ezra Pound, Pablo Neruda, Jubran Khalil Jubran, and many others.”

Kareem writes:

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. He often starts a poem in the second-person, the poet or the exilée, who then shifts to the third-person; the reader, the witness, or a fellow clandestine.

You can read the essay in full at The Babel Review, along with the side-by-side translations:

He Who Goes to the Place and الذاهب إلى المكان .

ملاحظات إلى السندباد من شيخ البحر and Remarks to Sindbad From The Old Man of the Sea.

It’s only a shame there’s no audio.

There are other self-translations of Boulus’s work online, although no others I could find where the Arabic and English appear side-by-side. Four appear here in Banipal: “The Siege,” “The Borders,” “The Letter Arrived,” and “Incident in a Mountain Village.”

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