Photo of Kashmir Poet Rafiq Kathwari

It’s never a straight line

An exclusive interview with the Kashmiri poet and the first non-Irish recipient of Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, Rafiq Kathwari, by Aasim Akhtar, an art critic in Islamabad, for The News on Sunday.

Take a walk around Rafiq Kathwari’s brain — there’s gold and grief in the shadows, guarded by beautiful, strange creatures nobody else has seen. His poetry leaves the reader with a sense of danger, of language teetering on the edge of a precipice, between centuries, between continents, between fleetingly improvised realms, suspended between memory and invention, reality and nothingness.

Rafiq Kathwari is the first non-Irish recipient of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, in the 44-year history of the award, for his debut collection In Another Country. Born, as he puts it, “a Scorpio at midnight” in Kashmir Valley, he obtained an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University and a Masters in Political and Social Science from the New School University. He has translated selected poems of Sir Muhammad Iqbal from the original Urdu. He divides his time between New York, Baile Ui Mhaonain in County Louth, and Kashmir.

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