Calling poetry a "question that begets another question," Adonis sets into motion this stream of unending inquiry with difficult questions about exile, identity, language, politics, and religion. Repeatedly mentioned as a possible Nobel laureate, Adonis is a leading figure in twentieth-century Arabic poetry. Restless and relentless, Adonis explores the pain and otherness of exile, a state so complete that absence replaces identity and becomes the exile's only presence. Exile can take many forms for the Arabic poet, who must practice his craft as an outsider, separated not only from the nation of his birth but from his own language; in the present as in the past, that exile can mean censorship, banishment, or death. Through these poems, Adonis gives an exquisite voice to the silence of absence.
Adonis was born 'Ali Ahmad Sa'id in 1930 in Syria. He has taught at the Universit de la Sorbonne-Nouvelle, the Coll ge de France, Georgetown University, and the University of Geneva. A poet, an editor, a translator, and a literary critic, Adonis is the author of more than twenty books, including The Stage and the Mirrors, A Tomb for New York, and The Transformation of the Lover. Samuel Hazo is the McAnulty Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Duquesne University. A widely published poet, fiction writer, essayist, and translator, Hazo was named Pennsylvania's first state poet in 1993. His most recent works are the poetry collection As They Sail and the novel Stills.