Literary Legacy

Dateline – 2 May 2019

Anwar Salman Cultural Foundation announced the recipients of its first annual Anwar Salman Awards today, marking the 3rd Anniversary of the passing of the acclaimed poet, who was born in Ramlieh, in the district of Aley.

The awards will be presented to Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan, Lebanese Lyricist and Composer Ghady Rahbani, and Lebanese Composer Oussama Rahbani.

Zaqtan, a co-winner of Canada’s 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize, along with his translator Fady Joudah, was cited for his distinguished works which combine clarity with semiotic richness and the employment of a poetic language, open to interpretation. Based on a profound knowledge of Arabic poetic legacy and its rhythms, Zaqtan’s poetry is connected with modernity through its celebration of everyday life, with its details and changing conditions. In Zaqtan’s poetry, Palestine is not invoked as a political slogan or platform for high-pitched rhetoric, but as fragmented places and times that the poet endeavors to accentuate and perpetuate in nostalgia and memory.

The Foundation’s jury commended Ghady Rahbani and Oussama Rahbani’s works, for their lyrics and music duo and their contributions to the Lebanese and Arab cultural scene, as well as the aesthetics that distinguished their work. The jury particularly stressed the significance of the two works that were recently released, namely, “Bghannilak Ya Watani” and “Arab Spring,” which stood out as a profound expression of the nation’s grief, and an inspiring message that revived hope for a better future.

Their work “Arab Spring,” which sparked considerable controversy, simulated the current era of the Arab world, the state of fragmentation and sectarian divisions and the absurdity and surrealism of war. It was distinguished by the humanitarian message integrated into the song, voicing a cry against violence. At the same time, it expressed a great disappointment with the current problems of the Arab world, with particular emphasis on its most significant aspect, sectarianism.

The award committee comprised five members, including poet Chawki Bzih; Professor Zahida Darwish Jabbour, former General Secretary of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO; Professor Mahmoud Chreih; and writer and critic Sleiman Bakhti.

The Anwar Salman Cultural Foundation was established as a non-profit foundation in recognition of late poet Anwar Salman within the Lebanese poetry and his inspirational influence on the Lebanese, and regional literary scenes. The foundation seeks to safeguard Anwar Salman’s literary legacy, and promote his values: peace and love for the homeland, and respect for human dignity. The foundation has established the annual “Anwar Salman Award” granted to poets and artists.

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