Songs of Mihyar the Damascene (Paperback)
On Our Shelves Now
A brilliant new translation of the landmark poetry collection by “the most eloquent spokesman and explorer of Arabic modernity” (Edward Said)
Written in the early 1960s, Songs of Mihyar the Damascene is widely considered to be the apex of the modernist poetry movement in the Arab world, a radical departure from the rigid formal structures that had dominated Arabic poetry until the 1950s. Drawing not only on Western influences, such as T.S. Eliot and Nietzsche, but on the deep tradition and history of Arabic poetry, Adonis accomplished a masterful and unprecedented transformation of the forms and themes of Arabic poetry, initiating a profound revaluation of cultural and poetic traditions. Songs of Mihyar is a masterpiece of world literature that rewrites—through Mediterranean myths and renegade Sufi mystics—what it means to be an Arab in the modern world.
About the Author
A perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, ADONIS, born Ali Ahmed Said Esber in the Syrian village Al-Qassabin in 1930, is one of the most influential modern Arab poets and cultural critics. He has received numerous honors, including the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Goethe Prize, and the PEN/Nabokov Award.
KAREEM JAMES ABU-ZEID is the award-winning translator of Rabee Jaber’s Confessions and The Mehlis Report, and Dunya Mikhail’s The Iraqi Nights.
The literary translator IVAN EUBANKS is the editor of the Pushkin Review and has a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages from Princeton University.
A critic, translator, and scholar, Robyn Creswell is currently the poetry editor for the Paris Review and assistant professor of comparative literature at Yale.
Adonis’s language casts a liturgical spell.
— Robyn Creswell - The New Yorker
Poetry for Adonis is not merely a genre or an art form but a way of thinking,
something almost like mystical revelation.
— Charles McGrath - The New York Times