Born in Baghdad in 1945, now living in London, Fawzi Karim is one of the most compelling voices of the exiled generation of Iraqi writers. In the first collection of his poetry to appear in English, his long sequence 'Plague Lands' is an elegy for the life of a lost city, a chronicle of a journey into exile, haunted by the deep history of an ancient civilisation. Memories of Baghdad's smoke-filled cafs, its alleys and mulberry-shaded squares, 'the tang of tea, of coffee beansarak, napthalene, damp straw mats', are recalled with painful intensity. Karim's defiant humanity, rejecting dogma and polemic, makes him a necessary poet for fractured times.
Working closely with the author, the poet Anthony Howell has created versions of 'Plague Lands' and a selection of Karim's shorter poems. Notes on the poems, Elena Lappin's introduction and an afterword by Marius Kociejowsky exploring Karim's life, illuminate the context of the poetry.
Fawzi Karim is a well-known Iraqi poet, writer and painter. Born in Baghdad in 1945, he was educated at Baghdad University before embarking on a career as a freelance writer. He lived in Lebanon from 1969-1972 and has lived in London since 1978.The Ivory Tower, his column on poetry and European classical music has appeared in a number of influential Arabic newspapers and is respected for its emphasis on the transcendent value of art and culture. He has published more than twenty three books of poetry, including a two volume Collected Poems (2000), The Foundling Years (2003), The Last Gypsies (2005), Night of Abel Alaa (2008), The Empty Quarter (2014) and What The poetry is, but a Slip of The Tongue (2016). He is also the author of sixteen books of prose, including The Emperor's Clothes: On Poetry (2000), Diary of The End of a Nightmare (2005), Gods the Companion, on music (2009), Pastures of Cactus, short stories (2015). The Music and Poetry (2014), The Music and Painting (2014) and a novel Who is Afraid of The Copper City (2016). His poetry is translated to many languages, including French, Sweden, Italian and English. Carcanet published his first selection Plague Lands and Other poems (2011), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for 2011.
'This is clearly a major poet.'
John Welch, Tears in the Fence