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07th March 2023 Costi Levy (2019, Philosophy and Spanish)

Omar Sabbagh (1999, PPE) chronicles modern Lebanon in his latest poetry collection

The Cedar Never Dies, Omar Sabbagh’s (1999, PPE) most recent collection of poems, is a verse-documentary that offers a Lebanese narrative of the present day. Sabbagh, born of Lebanese parents, characteristically weaves personal and public stories together in the collection, drawing on research and interviews with a range of Lebanese people, from everyday citizens to a former Prime Minister. What emerges from these conversations and Sabbagh’s versification of them, says Dr Sleiman El Hajj of the Lebanese American University (LAU), is a picture of a country which is ‘interactive, dynamic, divided, and, despite its recurrent infernos, alive’.

After studying at Exeter College, Sabbagh completed a Masters in creative writing at Kings’s College London and Goldsmiths. He has since become a regularly published writer. Sabbagh’s esteemed poetry collections include Morning Lit: Portals after Alia (2022), But It Was an Important Failure (2020), My Only Ever Oedipal Complaint (2010) and The Square Root of Beirut (2010). Poems in these collections, as well as his short fiction, have appeared in important publications including Poetry Review, The Reader Magazine, Poetry Ireland and Poetry Wales, amongst numerous others.

The Cedar Never Dies, a vivid portrayal of contemporary Lebanon, was published by Northside in February 2023, and is available for purchase.

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