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A River Dies of Thirst


Mahmoud Darwish author Catherine Cobham translator Ruth Padel editor


Publisher:Saqi Books

Published:7th May '24

Should be back in stock very soon

A River Dies of Thirst cover

'A person can only be born in one place. However, he may die several times elsewhere: in the exiles and prisons, and in a homeland transformed by occupation and oppression into a nightmare. Poetry is perhaps what teaches us to nurture the charming illusion: how to be reborn out of ourselves over and over again, and use words to construct a better world, a fictitious world that enables us to sign pact for a permanent and comprehensive peace ... with life.' Mahmoud Darwish Mahmoud Darwish was one of the most acclaimed contemporary poets in the Arab world, and is often cited as the poetic voice of the Palestinian people. During the tumultuous summer of 2006, as Israel attacked Gaza and Lebanon, Darwish was in Ramallah. He recorded his observations and feelings in writing included in A River Dies of Thirst, some of his last work. In this collection Darwish writes of love, loss, and the pain of exile in bittersweet poems and diary entries leavened with hope and joy.

A River Dies of Thirst lures its translator's imagination into several possibilities of form and lyric as testament to the mastery Darwish possessed in Arabic. Catherine Cobham's translations sway delicately between mystery and clarity, giving a rendition of the master's voice that should impress both those reading Darwish's work for the first time and those who are already familiar with it.' -- Fady Joudah * The Guardian *
'Darwish has given expression to his people's ordinary longings and desires.' The New York Times * New York Times *
‘Lyrical, imagistic, plaintive, haunting, always passionate and elegant – and never anything less than free.’ -- Naomi Shihab Nye
‘Rarely have the personal and the political been so plainly intertwined as in Darwish’s poetry, and this book is no exception.’ -- The Bloomsbury Review
‘Mahmoud Darwish is one of the greatest poets of our time. In his poetry Palestine becomes the map of the human soul.’ -- Elias Khoury
‘There are two maps of Palestine that politicians will never manage to forfeit: the one kept in the memories of Palestinian refugees, and that which is drawn by Darwish’s poetry.’ -- Anton Shammas
‘At the centre of A River Dies of Thirst is a series of exquisite love poems into which, perhaps more delicately than ever, Darwish again winds questions of identity, sexuality, language and metaphor.’ -- Electronic Intifada
‘Darwish's final poems are graced by a mood of disburdenment, a ghostly light-heartedness. It is as if the poet felt himself liberated at last from all his prior performances, or as if the long siege of history had momentarily lifted and set him free.’ -- The National
‘It is through the poetry of Darwish that one learns what it meant, and still means, to be a Palestinian with cultural roots that reach far back in time ... he fashioned a new literary Arabic that merged vernacular idioms with the classic language. His Arabic gave voice to the Palestinians who had been driven from their homeland, and with this voice Darwish created poetry of the highest order by any standard. He speaks for his people, but like all great poets he speaks for every human being.’ -- New York Review of Books
‘Darwish has given expression to his people’s ordinary longings and desires.’ -- New York Times
‘A River Dies of Thirst provides us with another opportunity to share reality with a writer who has always astonishingly made poetry the site of actuality – the poem as a place where thinking is forged. They precisely mark enormous emotional ranges with a single, pointed image; they make short lines of long wars; and they push us, as always, towards the seeking of meaning.’ -- Asymptote Journal
‘SAQI has once again done itself proud by republishing the great Palestinian poet of resistance Mahmoud Darwish’s A River Dies of Thirst.’ -- Arab Digest

ISBN: 9780863560613

Dimensions: 216mm x 138mm x 20mm

Weight: 200g

192 pages