Iraqi poet Sargon Boulus (1944–2007) remains one of the Arab world's best-known and influential contemporary poets. Born into an Iraqi Assyrian family and growing up in Al-Habbaniyah, Kirkuk, and Baghdad, he started publishing his own work in 1961, in the ground-breaking Shi'r [Poetry] magazine in Beirut. After settling in San Francisco in the late 1960s, he began translating most of the major English-language modern poets, and many others, into Arabic, and dedicated his life to reading, writing, and translating poetry. He died in Berlin in October 2007.
Sinan Antoon’s teaching and research interests lie in pre-modern Arabic literature and contemporary Arab culture and politics. His scholarly works include The Poetics of the Obscene: Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013) and numerous essays on the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and Sargon Boulus and on contemporary Iraqi culture. His essays and creative writings in Arabic have appeared in major journals and publications in the Arab world and in the New York Times, Aljazeera.net, The Nation, Middle East Report, Journal of Palestine Studies, Journal of Arabic Literature, The Massachusetts Review, World Literature Today, Ploughshares, and Washington Square Journal. He has published two collections of poetry in Arabic and one collection in English: The Baghdad Blues (Harbor Mountain Press, 2007). He has published three novels: I`jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights, 2007) which has appeared in German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Italian editions; The Pomegranate Alone (2010) forthcoming from Yale University Press in 2013; and Ya Maryam (Beirut: Dar al-Jamal, 2012). His translations from the Arabic include Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence (Archipelago, 2011) and a selection of Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef’s late work, Nostalgia; My Enemy (Graywolf, 2012). His translation of Toni Morrison’s Home is forthcoming in Arabic in 2013. He is a member of the editorial review board of the Arab Studies Journal and co-founder and co-editor of the cultural page of Jadaliyya. Through Spring 2013 he is a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin.