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Poems to Live for: Session 6

Poems to Live for: Session 6

Date and time: Thursday, October 1, 2020, 9 to 10:30 pm British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Register here.

Poems to Live for are free monthly online sessions

Poems to Live for: Session 6 – On UK National Poetry Day

Chairs: Michael Hulse and Donald Singer



Translated from the Arabic by Norbert Hirschhorn and Fouad M. Fouad

The Hippocrates Press £10 ISBN 978-0-9935911-8-1

Click here for more on the book and how to order a copy

Publication date: 1st October, 2020

Syrian doctor poet Fouad M. Fouad and his family left their city of Aleppo in 2012 and took refuge in Lebanon, where Fouad now teaches at the American University of Beirut. The poems in this book, translated by fellow poet and physician Norbert Hirschhorn together with the author, record the witness of an outraged doctor and writer in times of extremism.

Fouad M. Fouad is a physician and poet from Aleppo. Following the outbreak of the war in Syria, he and his family moved to Lebanon where he is now at the American University of Beirut. Dr Fouad is deeply engaged in research and action on behalf of Syrian refugees. He has published five volumes of poetry in Arabic, the most recent being Once Upon a Time in Aleppo. Several of his poems have appeared in translation in English and French poetry journals.

Norbert Hirschhorn is a physician specialising in international public health, commended in 1993 by President Bill Clinton as an American Health Hero, and following in the tradition of physician-poets. He now lives in Minnesota. His poems have been published widely, and the most recent of his five collections is Stone. Bread. Salt. Hirschhorn’s work has won a number of prizes in the US and UK. More information is available from his website,

  1. Readings by Dr Andi Dimitri, Sydney – author of the collection Winter in Northern Iraq

For the past decade, Sydney physician Andrew Dimitri has spent substantial periods working with Médecins sans Frontières in some of the most complex and challenging regions of the world. In early 2017 he was tasked with the oversight of a new MSF hospital on the fringe of Mosul, while the battle to oust Isis was still raging only a short distance away. These poems are his record of what he saw and the people he met amid the ruins, their injuries, their stories, their traumas.

It Will Make a Fine Hospital took second prize in the 2017 Hippocrates Prize and was widely seen when it was chosen as a Poem of the Week in The Guardian. Commenting on it there, Carol Rumens found that Dimitri’s plain diction, casual syntax, laconic tone, and balance of irony and hope, impeccably expressed the complexity of the experience. Now Winter in Northern Iraq makes available all thirty poems written by Andrew Dimitri out of his own encounter with a region ravaged by tragedy. With the author’s pragmatic compassion and his understated determination to make a difference, these poems resist despair and generate the grounds for hope.

We welcome suggestions for poems (out of copyright) you would like read or to read yourself during future sessions.

Copyright continues in the UK for 75 years (USA for 70 years) after the death of the poet or translator – whichever is the later date.

Please email us at as soon as possible with your suggestions. We can’t promise to use all readings or suggestions but we shall use as many as possible.

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