Hello, new readers and old. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Omar Sakr (it’s plastered all over this joint, so this should be obvious, to be honest). I am a bisexual Arab poet from Sydney, and I’m officially offering my skills for hire.
Here are some of the successes I’ve clawed out of the world already: my poetry has been published or is forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best Australian Poems 2016, Contemporary Australian Poetry, Island, Red Room Company, Strange Horizons, Overland, Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, Cordite Poetry Review, Tincture Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Twisted Moon, and Carve Magazine, among others.
I have been shortlisted for the Story Wine Prize (2014), the Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets (2014), the ACU Poetry Prize (2015), and the Fair Australia Prize (2016). This year, I also placed runner-up in the Judith Wright Poetry Prize (2015) with my poem ‘Not so Wild’. I’m incredibly blessed to say that some of my poems have been translated into Arabic and published in the pan Arab newspaper Alaraby Al-Jadeed by acclaimed international poet Najwan Darwish. Earlier this year, I co-edited an issue of Cordite Poetry Review with award-winning writer Fiona Wright, and I’m currently the Poetry Editor of the Lifted Brow.
On the non-fiction front, I’ve been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Paper, Archer, Going Down Swinging, Junkee, Kill Your Darlings, and SBS Comedy, among others. My debut full-length poetry collection, These Wild Houses, is due out early next year (2017) through Cordite Books. Sadly, there’s little to no money involved in publishing poetry, even books of it, so I can’t rely on it to support me. The crazy thing about being successful as an emerging poet, or indeed a published poet at any stage of their career, is that it doesn’t translate to having an income. It is a success that becomes measured in cultural capital, which would be nice, if I weren’t so worried about being able to pay the rent.
I moved from Sydney to Melbourne a few months ago because I knew I couldn’t keep it up. I wanted to find work that I didn’t loathe, and doing that, I thought, would be easier in Melbourne because the rent would be cheaper. I was right about that, the rent is cheaper by a factor of a few hundred dollars per month, which is awesome, but I haven’t found work yet. It’s proven a lot more difficult to get than I expected (as an experienced professional with two degrees), and I’ve been looking now for months. I don’t think editing manuscripts or essays or whatever it may be will become my main income and I’m not looking for it do that, but what it might do is help alleviate some of the pressure.
Ongoing work is the best way out of this loop of anxiety I find myself in, and so I’d like to direct all those interested in helping out to do so by making use of me. If you or a friend have a manuscript of any length which needs proofreading or editing, please get in touch here. To any and all who have contributed, who employ me, or share my work: thank you, thank you, thank you.