The Palestinian poet residing in Jerusalem, Najwan Darwish, won the British "Sarah Maguire Prize" for poetry for his collection "Exhausted on the cross”.
A statement by the award jury, issued by the Poetry Translation Center in the British capital, stated that the book “Exhausted on the cross” included “a wonderful collection of one of the best contemporary poets in the Middle East.” The statement considered that “Darwish’s elegant poems revive the themes of displacement, faith and conflict, which are Poems Brilliantly Translated by Karim James Abu Zaid,” an American translator and writer of Egyptian origin, interested in translating pre-Islamic commentaries.
It should be noted that the English version of this winning poetry collection is nominated for more than one international poetry award, including the “National Translation Award” of the American Literary Translators Association, and the “Best Translated Poetry Book Award” in the United States for the year 2022, presented by the American PEN Foundation. .
The same group was shortlisted for five other international awards.
Darwish commented on winning the award, criticizing the saying that "this is the time of the novel, and that poetry does not belong to its owner," calling on the Arab poet to start from his qualitative heritage and its accumulation towards the horizons of modernity and renewal.
He added, "The Arabic poem began in prose, and today it is written in prose as well. Poetry is deeper and stronger than the rigid forms of poetry. It is primarily a spiritual experience, as the first poet must have been a priest as well."