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Selected Poems

Adonis author Khaled Mattawa translator


Publisher:Yale University Press

Published:24th Apr '12

Should be back in stock very soon

Adonis cover

The first major career-spanning collection of the poems of Adonis, widely acknowledged as the most important poet working in Arabic today
“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

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’s work, allowing English readers to admire the arc of a remarkable literary career through the labors of the poet’s own handpicked translator, Khaled Mattawa.
Daring in form and prophetic in tone, Adonis’s poetry sings of both the sweet promise of eros and the problems of the self. He writes of childhood (“Your childhood is a village. / You will never cross its boundaries / no matter how far you go”); of blood, bombs, and mutilation (“Murder has changed the city’s shape”); and of the anguish of exile (“‘I write poetry in the language of the country that sheltered me,’ said a young man who looked old”). Adonis demonstrates the poet’s affection for Arabic and European lyrical traditions even as his poems work to destabilize those sensibilities.
This collection positions the work of Adonis within the pantheon of the great poets of exile, including César 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.”

“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

Selected Poems is an impressive achievement for both poet and translator, giving the Anglophone world the first comprehensive selection of Adonis’s poetry from the early days of his 60 years writing poetry to 2008.”—Banipal; Magazine of Modern Arab Literature (40)

Selected Poems reveals the transformation of Adonis’s 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, Prague Post

“[A] gift to English readers.”—Hisham Matar, Irish Times, Books of the Year

“[F]or the first time, English readers can get a just sense of Adonis’s extraordinary poetic genius.”—Eric Ormsby, Literary Review

Selected as a finalist for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize sponsored by the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry

Adonis was the winner of the 2011 Goethe Prize, given by the city of Frankfurt

Khaled Mattawa was the winner of the 2011 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for Adonis: Selected Poems, given by PEN American Center

Khaled Mattawa was chosen as a MacArthur Fellow. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effecive institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defent human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. (prestige/important)

“Adonis, born Ali Ahmad Said Esber in the Alaouite village of Qassabin in western Syria in 1930, is recognized as one of the most important poets and theorists of literature in the Arab world, and one of the most important contemporary poets and poetic thinkers in any language or context. His influence on Arabic poetry can be compared with that of Pound or Eliot on poetry in English, combined, however, with a radical and secular critique of his society. His poetry is widely known and available in Europe, in many languages and multiple translations. Khaled Mattawa, one of the best and most audacious younger American poets, also a brilliant, knowledgeable translator, has worked for two decades, latterly with the collaboration of Adonis, on a collection that will represent his scope, his thought, his linguistic daring and innovation to Anglophone readers. This magisterial anthology, covering more than fifty years of work, marked with the poet’s ‘epic scope and lyrical precision,’ will indelibly mark his presence alongside world poets like Milosz, Akhmatova, Darwish, Neruda, Amichai and Bonnefoy.”—Marilyn Hacker

“There is no doubt this selection will prove to be the standard by which all translations, readings, and studies of Adonis’s poetry in English will be judged. The sweeping canopy of his life’s achievement is astonishing in Khaled Mattawa’s vision. Mattawa’s lyrical rendition of Adonis’s intensely musical Arabic is unparalleled by any available translation, old or recent, of Adonis’s work in English.”—Fady Joudah, translator of If I Were Another: Poems by Mahmoud Darwish

  • Winner of Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation 2011

ISBN: 9780300181258

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: 499g

432 pages