A River Dies of Thirst
Preface by Ruth Padel
Translated by Catherine Cobham
About the Book
‘A person can only be born in one place. However, he may die several times elsewhere: in the exiles and prisons, and in a homeland transformed by occupation and oppression into a nightmare. Poetry is perhaps what teaches us to nurture the charming illusion: how to be reborn out of ourselves over and over again, and use words to construct a better world, a fictitious world that enables us to sign pact for a permanent and comprehensive peace … with life.’ Mahmoud Darwish
Mahmoud Darwish was one of the most acclaimed contemporary poets in the Arab world, and is often cited as the poetic voice of the Palestinian people. During the tumultuous summer of 2006, as Israel attacked Gaza and Lebanon, Darwish was in Ramallah. He recorded his observations and feelings in writing included in A River Dies of Thirst, some of his last work. In this collection Darwish writes of love, loss, and the pain of exile in bittersweet poems and diary entries leavened with hope and joy.
About the Author
Mahmoud Darwish was born in 1942 in the village of al-Birweh in Galilee, Palestine. His family fled to Lebanon in 1948 when the Israeli Army destroyed their village. He published around thirty poetry and prose collections, which have been translated into thirty-five languages and founded and edited the prestigious literary review Al Karmel. Darwish was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize, the Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and the Prince Claus Fund Award. He died in August 2008.
About the Translator
Catherine Cobham has translated the works of Naguib Mahfouz, Hanan al-Shaykh, Adonis, Fuad al-Takarli and Nawal El Saadawi, among others.
'Darwish has given expression to his people's ordinary longings and desires.' The New York Times
‘Darwish did as much as anyone to forge a Palestinian national consciousness.’ Guardian