At the age of eighty-six, Adonis, an Arabic poet with Syrian origins, a critic, an essayist, and a devoted secularist, has come out of retirement to pen an extended, innovative poem on Jerusalem/Al-Quds. It is a hymn to a troubled city embattled by the conflicting demands of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Adonis’s city, as a coveted land, ought to suggest the universal love of humanity; as a land of tragedy, a place of contending history and beliefs, and a locus of bitterness, conflict, hatred, rivalry, and blood. Wrapping multiple voices, historical references, and political viewpoints within his ecstatic lyricism, Adonis has created a provocative work of unique beauty and profound wisdom, beautifully rendered in English by award-winning poet Khaled Mattawa.
“This universal concerto as translated by Khaled Mattawa has captured the beauty of the original. It is a beautiful English verse, faithful and sensitive; it is a great service not only to the poetry of Adonis, or Arabic poetry, but to world poetry.”—Bassam Frangieh, author of Arabic for Life.
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