Unknown Poems by Donqol to be published

Sayed Mahmoud, Sunday 22 May 2011

Gaber Asfour, a friend of the late poet Amal Donqol, shares his memories and studies of Donqol's poetry in a new book The Insubordinate Poem

The Insubordinate Poem: Amal Donqol is a new book to be published by the critic Gaber Asfour containing unknown poems of the famous late poet Amal Donqol.

In statements to Ahram Online, Asfour indicated that he obtained the original manuscript years ago from the critic Abla El-Roweini, Donqol’s widow. Asfour confirmed that the notebook has three drafts written by the late poet titled ‘Ogyni’ that date back to his earlier years. “It seems Donqol wasn’t quite satisfied with it so he never included it for publication.”

The poet was known as the “Prince of Refusers” for his famous poem “Do not reconcile” written in December of 1976, which expressed his opposition to the reconciliation with Israel.

Asfour said he hasn’t yet decided on the publisher for his book, which will include also a lengthy study and previously published article about the poet. The book will also include, according to Asfour, a study of other unknown poems, the most famous of which is a poem discovered by the poet Shabaan Youssef.  Published in Rosal Youssef in 1966, the poem seemed to have been a reaction to a poem by the great Ahmed Abdel Moety Hegazy about the Socialist Union.

The book also contains a poem titled “Confession,” part of the poet’s romantic phase, unpublished due to its technical weakness. It tackled the topic of “honor” in Upper Egypt.

Asfour indicated that Donqol wouldn’t publish anything he wasn’t fully happy with, which is why there are many drafts for his poems held by his widow and friends.

Finally, the book will include a narrative section in which Asfour shares his personal memories with Donqol. Included are rare photographs of the poet with friends, writers and critics from the 1960s generation, including Youssef Idriss, Abdel-Mohsen Taha, the Yemeni critic Abdel Aziz Al-Okhaleh, and the late critic Louis Awada, in addition to family pictures from the south of Egypt.

On another front, Asfour said that Donqol’s unpublished poem “The Secret Policeman,” shared last week on Ahram Online (Arabic) and contested for authenticity, is likely to be truly one of Donqol’s. As noted by his brother Anass, it bears resemblance to poems written during the same period, particularly when it comes to rhythmic structure.

Donqol’s annual memorial was held yesterday.



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