In this noted anthology, the poet Adonis evokes the wisdom of Whitman's Leaves of Grass (which he liberally excerpts and remolds), the modernism of William Carlos Williams, and the haunting urban imagery of Baudelaire, Cavafy, and Lorca. Three long poems allow him to explore profoundly the human condition, by examining language and love, race and favor, faith and dogma, war and ruin. In the lyrical "This Is My Name" and "Introduction to the History of the Petty Kings," Adonis ponders Arab defeat and defeatism. In "A Grave for New York," he focuses on Vietnam-era America. Originally published in 1970 to widespread acclaim, the collection has been reprinted often but has never before appeared in English. Enhanced by Shawkat M. Toorawa's bilingual edition of the Arabic and English on facing pages, an afterword, and assisted by a critical bibliography of Adonis's works, this book is a crucial reference for all students and scholars of modern and Middle Eastern poetry and culture. Noted Syrian intellectual Nasser Rabbat offers a compelling foreword.
Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said) has written poetry, criticism, translations, and anthologies for fifty years. He has won numerous international poetry awards and was a finalist for the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature. Shawkat M. Toorawa is professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. He is coauthor of Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition and author of the forthcoming Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur and Arabic Writerly Culture.
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