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 the pre-Islamic poetry of Arabia and the relationship between Arabic poetry and the Qur'an, and between poetry and thought. He 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.
Adonis is widely considered one of the Arab world's greatest living poets. Born in Syria in 1930, he settled in Lebanon in the 1950s where he became a central figure in the new Arabic poetic movement. In 1956 he helped establish the literary magazine Shi'r, and in 1968 founded its successor, the equally prestigious Mawakif. Both were to play 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.