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Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs

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Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs

By: Adnan Haydar Michael Beard

Availability: In Stock

Regular price $ 16.00

About This Title

"The poems in this collection, Miyhar of Damascus, His Songs (Aghânî Mihyâr al-dimashqî,) established a new direction in Arabic poetry, comparable to that series of breaks with traditional styles we find elsewhere at early moments in the history of modernisms: Mallarmé or Apollinaire in France, Ezra Pound in the Anglophone world, Ungaretti in Italy, Sikelianos or Seferis in Greece. Adonis's early poems in traditional metrics demonstrate his mastery of the recurring rhythms and monorhyme: but Mihyar shattered that. The authoritative aesthetic break carried out in this book is a break from within. After Mihyar in 1961 there would be many additional leaps into experimental new forms: Mufrad bi-sîghat al jam‘ (Singular in plural form, 1977), for instance, in which words are scattered across the page in the manner of Mallarmé’s “Un coup de dés,” generating a pictorial force no less powerful than their sound, or most recently Al-Kitâb (The book, 1995), in which multiple voices combine surprisingly. Al-Kitâb takes the form of a poem in the center of the page, flanked by marginal comments on it by fictional critics, going down the page in dialogue. Al-Kitâb may be Adonis's most striking recent creation, but the poems of Mihyar constitute the initial, definitive disruption."--Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard, from the Introduction "The availability in English of this seminal, startling, volatile, founding work of Arabic-language modernism is a welcome literary event...Adonis excels both in stately free verse and in the prose poems he calls 'Psalms'... [he] is likely the most original Arabic poet of his generation."--Publishers Weekly

The Earth

How often you have said to me
"I have another country,"
your palms filling with tears
and your eyes
filling with lightning
from where the borders keep edging closer.

Did your eyes know that the earth,
whenever it cried or cheered your footsteps,
here where you have sung, or there,
that it knows every passerby but you
and knows itself to be one,
dried up breasts, dry inside,
and that it doesn't know the ritual of rejection?

Did your eyes realize
that you yourself are the earth?

© BOA Editions, Ltd 2008 
Available editions:
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-934414-09-5
Price: $25.50
Publishing Date: July 2008
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-934414-08-8
Price: $16.00
Publishing Date: July 2008