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 widely considered among the greatest living Arab poets. Born in Syria in 1930, he settled in Lebanon in the 1950s, where he became a central figure in the Arab world’s new poetic movement. In 1956 he helped establish the literary magazine Shi‘r, and in 1968 founded its successor, the equally prestigious Mawakif. Both played a seminal role in the revival of the Arabic literary tradition. Adonis is the author of several classic works that have led to a rigorous reassessment of the Arab cultural heritage.
‘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.’