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Poetry is the quintessence of Arab culture. In this book, one of the foremost Arab poets reinterprets a rich and ancient heritage.
He examines the oral tradition of pre-Islamic Arabian poetry, as well as the relationship between Arabic poetry and the Qur’an, and between poetry and thought. Adonis also assesses the challenges of modernism and the impact of western culture on the Arab poetic tradition.
Stimulating in their originality, eloquent in their treatment of a wide range of poetry and criticism, these reflections open up fresh perspectives on one of the world’s greatest – and least explored – literatures.
About the Author
Adonis is one of the most celebrated poets and essayists of the Arab world. Born in Syria in 1930, he fled political persecution and settled in Lebanon in the 1950s, where he led the modernist movement in Arabic poetry. He has written more than thirty books in Arabic, including Sufism and Surrealism, and the pioneering work An Introduction to Arab Poetics, and was awarded the Goethe Prize in 2011 for his contribution to international literature. His other awards include the Spiros Vergos Prize for Freedom of Expression, the Bjørnson Prize, the International Nâzım Hikmet Poetry Award and the Syria-Lebanon Best Poet Award. He lives in Paris.
‘The most intellectually stimulating of several Arab books of unique literary distinction in fine translations ... Translated with uncommon intelligence ... As important a cultural manifesto as any written today.’
Edward Said, Independent on Sunday
‘Adonis’s only prose work available in English is this book. The loss is ours and it is massive, for Adonis is a writer like Neruda or Marquez.’
Geoff Dyer, Independent
‘Introduces the reader to a new way of interpreting all poetry, and to many marvellous words that do not have an English equivalent.’