Adonis Selected Poems Adonis, Khaled Mattawa

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
24 Apr 2012
Yale University Press
432 pages: 197 x 152mm
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Born in Syria in 1930, Adonis is one of the most celebrated poets of the Arabic-speaking world. His poems have earned international acclaim, and his influence on Arabic literature has been likened to that of T. S. Eliot's on English-language verse. This volume serves as the first comprehensive survey of Adonis' work, allowing English readers to admire the arc of a remarkable literary career through the labours of the poet's own handpicked translator, Khaled Mattawa.

Experimental in form and prophetic in tone, Adonis' poetry sings exultantly of both the sweet promise of eros and the lingering problems of the self. Steeped in the anguish of exile and the uncertainty of existence, Adonis demonstrates the poet's profound affection for Arabic and European lyrical traditions even as his poems work to destabilize those very aesthetic and moral sensibilities. This collection positions the work of Adonis within the pantheon of the great poets of exile, including Cesar Vallejo, Joseph Brodsky, and Paul Celan, providing for English readers the most complete vision yet of the work of the man whom the cultural critic Edward Said called 'today's most daring and provocative Arab poet'.

More about this title

·Khaled Mattawa won the 2011 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Literary Translation for his translation of Adonis: Selected Poems.
·In August 2011 Adonis won the €50,000 Goethe prize.

Adonis (born Ali Ahmad Said Esber) is a Syrian poet and essayist who led the modernist movement in Arabic poetry in the second half of the 20th century. He has written more than 20 books in his native Arabic, including the pioneering work An Introduction to Arab Poetics. Adonis received the Bjornson Prize in 2007. Other awards and honours include the first International Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, the Syria-Lebanon Best Poet Award, and the highest award of the International Poem Biennial in Brussels. He was elected a member of the Stephane Mallarme Academy in 1983. He lives in Paris. Khaled Mattawa is assistant professor of language and literature at the University of Michigan. He is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Tocqueville (2010), and is the recipient of the PEN award for literary translation, a Guggenheim fellowship, and two Pushcart prizes. He was born in Benghazi, Libya, and emigrated to the United States when he was a teenager.

In August 2011 Adonis won the prestigious €50,000 Goethe prize, the first Arab writer to do so.

"Poetry for Adonis is not merely a genre or an art form but a way of thinking, something almost like mystical revelation."—Charles McGrath, New York Times

"For the first time, English readers can get a just sense of Adonis’s extraordinary poetic genius."—Eric Ormsby, Literary Review

"Selected Poems reveals the transformation of Adonis' style over the past five decades to a degree that has not been possible in the previous single collections of the poet's work in English translation... Without doubt, Adonis has changed the game of Arab poetry. With the publication of Khaled Mattawa's lucid translations in Selected Poems, Adonis may change the American poetry game, as well."—Stephan Delbos, The Prague Post

"A gift to English readers."—Hisham Matar, Irish Times