Songs of Mihyar the Damascene
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.
“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