From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Adonis (disambiguation).
Adonis Cracow Poland May12 2011 Fot Mariusz Kubik 01.JPG
Syrian poet
Born Ali Ahmad Said Esber
(1930-01-01) January 1, 1930 (age 85)
Al Qassabin, Latakia, French Syria
Pen name Adonis
Occupation Poet, Writer, literary critic
Language Arabic
Nationality Syrian
Period Second half of 20th century[1]
Genre Essay, Poem
Literary movement Modernism[1]
Notable awards Bjørnson Prize
Goethe Prize

Ali Ahmad Said Esber (Arabic: علي أحمد سعيد إسبر‎; transliterated: alî ahmadi sa'îdi asbar or Ali Ahmad Sa'id; born 1 January 1930), also known by the pen name Adonis or Adunis (Arabic: أدونيس), is a Syrian poet, essayist and translator considered one of the most influential and dominant Arab poets of the modern era,[3] he has written more than twenty books and volumes of poetry in the Arabic language as well as translated several works from French.

In 1956, after a year-long imprisonment for political activities, Adonis fled Syria for Beirut,Lebanon. He joined a vibrant community of artists, writers, and exiles, Adunis settled abroad and has made his career largely in Lebanon and France. A perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature,[4] he has been regularly nominated for the award since 1988[5] and has been described as the greatest living poet of the Arab world.[6]


Early life and education[edit]

Ali Ahmad Said Asbar was born in Al Qassabin, Latakia, in the Alawite mountains of northwest Syria,the eldest of six children to an Alawite family.[7] From an early age, he worked in the fields, The village teacher taught Adonis to read and write, but he did not attend school, or saw a car or listen to a radio until he turned twelve. From his father, an influential figure in his life, he received a traditional Islamic education. he finally had the opportunity In 1943, to deliver a word of welcome – in verse – on behalf of the region’s children to Shukri al-Quwatli the first president of post-independence Syria; that led to a scholarships In 1944 that entered Adonis to the French Lycée at Tartus, graduating in 1949, In 1950 Adonis published his first collection of verse, Dalila. as he joined the Syrian University in Damascus (Now Damascus University) to study law and philosophy, graduating in 1954 with a BA in philosophy,[8] he later served two years in the army where he was harassed for his political views (partly due to his membership in the SNNP), Adonis spent part of his service in jail.

He helped in editing the cultural supplement of El-Thawra newspaper ( The Revolution newspaper) but pro government writers clashed with his agenda and forced him to flee the country.[9]


The name Adonis (pronounced ah-doh-NEES), was picked up by the Adonis him self at age 17 after being rejected by a number of magazines under his real name, to "alert napping editors to his precocious talent and his pre-Islamic, pan-Mediterranean muses".[6] In 1955.

His first poems appeared in magazines in 1947 under the pen-name Adonis

Personal life[edit]

Adonis is married to known literary critic Khalida Said née Saleh (Arabic translation خالدة سعيد) in 1956[10] They have two daughters: Arwad, who is director of the House of World Cultures in Paris; and Ninar, an artist who moves between Paris and Beirut.

Beirut / Paris[edit]

Following his release from prison in 1956, he settled in Beirut, Lebanon, where in 1957 he and the Syro-Lebanese poet Yusuf al-Khal founded the magazine Majallat Shi'r ("Poetry Magazine") that met with strong criticism as they published experimental poetry.[11] Majallat Shi’r ceased publication in 1964, and Adunis did not rejoin the Shi’r editors when they resumed publication in 1967. In Lebanon, his intense nationalistic feelings, reflecting pan-Arabism focused on the Arab peoples as a nation, found their outlet in the Beiruti newspaper Lisan al-Hal and eventually in his founding of another literary periodical in 1968 titled Mawaqif, in which he again published experimental poetry.[12]

Adunis's poems continued to express the poet's nationalistic views combined with his mystical outlook. With his use of Sufi terms (the technical meanings of which were implied rather than explicit), Adunis became a leading exponent of the Neo-Sufi trend in modern Arabic poetry. This trend took hold in the 1970s.[13]

Adunis received a scholarship to study in Paris from 1960-1961. From 1970 to 1985 he was professor of Arabic literature at the Lebanese University. In 1976, he was a visiting professor at the University of Damascus. In 1980, he emigrated to Paris to escape the Lebanese Civil War. In 1980-1981, he was professor of Arabic at the Sorbonne in Paris.

On 27 January 1995, after Syrian pressure, it was announced in Damascus that he had been expelled from the Arab Writers Union.[14]

In August 2011, Adunis called in an interview in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down because of his role in the Syrian civil war.[15] He has also called upon the opposition to shun violence and engage in dialogue with the regime.[16]


The Songs of Mihyar the Damascene[edit]

His third book of poetry The Songs of Mihyar of Damascus (or the Damascene in different translation) marked a definitive disruption of existing poetics and a new direction in poetic language. In a sequence of 141 mostly short lyrics arranged in seven sections (the first six sections begin with ‘psalms’ and the final section is a series of seven short elegies) the poet transposes an icon of the early eleventh century, Mihyar of Daylam (in Iran), to contemporary Damascus in a series, or vortex, of non-narrative ‘fragments’ that place character deep "in the machinery of language", and he wrenches lyric free of the ‘I’ while leaving individual choice intact. The whole book has been translated by Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard as Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs (BOA Editions, NY 2008) and thirty of the poems are also included in Mattawa’s Selected Poems. In a sense this book also is a single long poem and while each part stands on its own the separate poems can prove slippery to quote from when isolated. Haydar and Beard’s translations are richer, more expansive, Mattawa’s concise and more curt. Both work very well.

The former has, in triplet stanzas: "Mihyar is king, / a king whose dreams are palaces / meadows aflame. / Just today, words / heard complaints against him / from a voice that died. / Mihyar, a king. / He lives in the dominion of the wind / and rules in the land of secrets."

Mattawa has "King Mihyar/a sovereign, dream is his palace and his gardens of fire./ A voice once complained against him to words/and died./King Mihyar/lives in the dominion of the wind/and rules over a land of secrets."

Adonis is here marking out concerns that echo throughout his work and addressing sources of inspiration that are constant. The elegies of the final section – for Abu Nawas and al-Hallaj among others – foreshadow celebratory poems, to Abu Tammam and al- Ma‘arri, of thirty years later.

A Time Between Ashes and Roses[edit]

In 1970 Adonis published A Time Between Ashes and Roses as a volume consisting of two long poems ‘An Introduction to the History of the Petty Kings’ and ‘This Is My Name’ and in the 1972 edition augmented them with ‘A Grave For New York.’ These three astonishing poems, written out of the crises in Arabic society and culture following the disastrous 1967 Six-Day War and as a stunning cri de coeur against intellectual aridity, opened out a new path for contemporary poetry. The whole book, in its augmented 1972 edition has a complete English translation by Shawkat M. Toorawa as A Time Between Ashes and Roses (Syracuse University Press 2004) while Mattawa includes a translation of ‘This Is My Name’ in the Selected Poems. In ‘An Introduction to the History of the Petty Kings’ (itself echoing themes from the ‘petty times’ of Mihyar) Adonis fragments, brackets and slashes prose and verse lines and uses ‘etc.’ both to convey exaggeration and hubris and to embody the sense of despair. His language remains lyrical – recreation of the lyric in the face of turmoil being one of the poet’s great qualities:

"A child stammers, the face of Jaffa is a child / How can withered trees blossom ? /

Here the slashes (/) are an integral part of the poem’s language, there to embody as language how lives are cut short or interrupted. As the 28 sections of the poem draw to their end, the poet repeats the fragment "In a map that extends . . . etc." and states the huge rifts between life and language in very exact fragments: "This language that suckles me, betrays me /" . . . "Here is the gazelle of history opening my entrails /" and, tellingly, "The beautiful storm has come but not the beautiful devastation." But there are notes of hope. He emphasises that "I am not alone" and says:

"A time between ashes and roses is coming

When everything shall be extinguished

When everything shall begin."

The pages of day and night[edit]

translated by Samuel John Hazo, published by Marlboro Press, 1994 & 2000: Restless and relentless, Adonis explores the pain and otherness of exile, a state so complete that absence replaces identity and becomes the exile's only presence. Exile can take many forms for the Arabic poet, who must practice his craft as an outsider, separated not only from the nation of his birth but from his own language; in the present as in the past, that exile can mean censorship, banishment, or death. Through these poems, Adonis gives an exquisite voice to the silence of absence.

The Funeral of New York ~ Tombeau de New York[edit]

Also translated "A Grave for New York" After a trip to New York in 1971 during which he participated in an international Poetry Forum, Adunis wrote the poem "The Funeral of New York", the poem depicts the desolation of New York City as emblematic of empire, described as a violently anti-American,[17] in the poem Walt Whitman the known American poet, as the champion of democracy, is taken to task, particularly in Section 9, which addresses Whitman directly.[18]

Written in spring 1971, . Adonis wrote the poem after a visit to the United States, . Unlike his poem "The Desert", where Adonis presented the pain of war and siege without naming and anchoring the context, in this poem he refers explicitly to a multitude of historical figures and geographical locations. He pits poets against politicians, the righteous against the exploitative. The English translation of this long poem from Arabic skips some short passages of the original (indicated by ellipses), but the overall effect remains intact. The poem is made up of 10 sections, each denouncing New York City in a different way. It opens by presenting the beastly nature of the city and by satirizing the Statue of Liberty: A civilization with four legs; in each direction
murder and
a road leading to murder
and in each distance the moaning of the drowned.
Is a woman
holding, according to history,
a rag called liberty with one hand
and strangling the earth with the other.
New York
is damp asphalt
with a surface like a closed window

later in the same poem

Picture the earth as a pear
or breast.
Between such fruits and death
survives an engineering trick:
New York,
Call it a city on four legs
heading for murder
while the drowned already moan
in the distance.

Adonis: Selected Poems by Adonis[1][edit]

translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa and described as "a genuine overview of the span of Adonis’s",[1] the book is the inclusion of a number of poems of between five and fifteen or so pages in length: not short fragments or sequences, but not very long poems either. This extended length seems to allow Adonis to make, or create, an entirely new poetry. Poems such as ‘Desert’, ‘Candlelight’ and ‘The Child Running Inside Memory’ from The Book of Siege (1985), or ‘Desire Moving through Maps of Matter’ (1987) or ‘In The Embrace of Another Alphabet’ (1994) or ‘Concerto For The Veiled Christ’ and ‘I Imagine A Poet’ (2003) are such. Indeed just to read off the titles of some of these poems gives a sense of the poet’s liberated trajectory. Mattawa also includes a new translation of the single poem ‘This Is My Name’ and the long poem ‘Body’ from Singular In A Plural Form (1975) as well as three of the books of short lyrics published in the first decade of this century and selections from Mihyar and other early books of short sequences All of this amounts to a considerable selection from the poet’s work.

Literary Criticism and Modernism Movement[edit]

Adunis, is often portrayed as entirely dismissive of the intellectual heritage of Arabic culture.[2] Yet in al-Thābit wa-l-Mutaḥawwil (The Immutable and the Transformative), his emphasis on the plurality of Arabic heritage posits the richness of Arabic Islamic heritage and the deficiency of tradition as defined by imitation (taqlīd). He views culture as dynamic rather than immutable and transcendent, challenging the traditionalist homogenizing tendency within heritage.

In studying the Arabic cultural system, Adunis emphasizes that the concept of heritage construed as a unified repertoire based on a consistent cultural essence preconditions the rupture between this heritage and modernity.

Adunis defines this traditionalist thought as theocentric (by which individualism is suppressed), atavistic (locating the focal point of time in an absolute never-changing time of revelation), and as antagonist to modernity.[2]

He investigates how the traditionalist nucleus exported its logic and inner structures primarily from the realm of religion to other forms of cultural productions, namely literature. Traditionalist thought, according to Adunis,influenced classical literary criticism by importing the logic of religious hermeneutics and pre-Islamic poetry, emphasizing these two sources as determining repertoires of pre-existent and binding meaning. Therefore, Adunis’ call for liberation from tradition is more specifically a call to be liberated from this structure of thought that imposes conformity and renders cultural heritage a vivid intoxicating presence and an unquestioned authority. The rejection of heritage that he is often accused of is in fact the rejection of the epistemological monopoly that traditionalist thought exercises within Arabic Islamic culture. His call for liberation from tradition is rather a call to be liberated from the postulation that the true trajectory of culture is not linear progress but a circular motion of revolving around a fixed cultural origin. As far as poetry is concerned, he advocates a new poetic experience that locates its cultural origin within its own creativity and affirms that meaning lies in the present and future of a poem rather than its past.

The Static and the Dynamic ~ Al-Thābit wa al-mutaḥawwil[2][edit]

Two particular concerns seemed to characterize much literary criticism in the Arabic-speaking world during the late 20th century: the definition of modernity and the issue of "particularity."

Adunis devoted much attention to the question of "the modern" in Arabic literature and society. His most comprehensive exploration of the topic took the form of the four-volume study Al-Thābit wa al-mutaḥawwil (1974–78; "The Static and the Dynamic"), in which he surveys the entire Arabic literary tradition and concludes that, like the literary works themselves, attitudes to and analyses of them must be subject to a continuing process of reevaluation. Yet what he actually sees occurring within the critical domain is mostly static and unmoving. The second concern, that of particularity (khuṣūṣiyyah), is a telling reflection of the realization among writers and critics throughout the Arabic-speaking world that the region they inhabited was both vast and variegated (with Europe to the north and west as a living example). Debate over this issue, while acknowledging notions of some sense of Arab unity, revealed the need for each nation and region to investigate the cultural demands of the present in more local and particular terms. A deeper knowledge of the relationship between the local present and its own unique version of the past promises to furnish a sense of identity and particularity that, when combined with similar entities from other Arabic-speaking regions, will illustrate the immensely rich and diverse tradition of which 21st-century litterateurs are the heirs.

In this work Adunis investigates the religious, historical and literary elements that led to the institutionalization of conformity as the prevalent mode of thought for Arabic Islamic culture as well as the ever-present oppositionary currents of revolution and innovation that challenged institutional authority. Adunis' study seeks to deconstruct traditionalist thought within Arabic culture and dismantle the totalizing attitude towards heritage that postulates its unity, its consistency and thereby its immutability.

Excerpts from "The Static and the Dynamic" also translate "The Immutable and the Transformative"

What we must criticize firstly is how we define heritage itself. In addition

to the vagueness of the concept, prevalent conformist thought defines heritage as an essence or an origin to all subsequent cultural productions. In my opinion, we must view heritage from the prism of cultural and social struggles that formed the Arabs' history and, when we do, it becomes erroneous to state that there is one Arabic heritage. Rather, there is a specific cultural product related to a specific order in a specific period of history. What we call heritage is nothing but a myriad of cultural and historical products that are at times even antithetical. (Ali Ahmed Sa'id, The Immutable and the Transformative: A Study in Conformity and

Innovation Amongst the Arabs, Vol 3, 228)


Adunis started making images using calligraphy, color and figurative gestures around the year 2002,[19] in 2012 A major tribute to Adunis, including an exhibition of his drawings and a series of literary events was organized in The Mosaic Rooms in West London.[20]

His works emanate with visual planes bursting with original handwritten poetry that recalls classical Arabic literature from various eras and civilizations. The great masters of the Arabic language Al-Ma’arri, Abu Tammam, and Waddah al-Yaman, all of whom are linked by their rebellious spirit, their penchant for refusal, and their compulsion for change, are revived in Adunis's words.

His exploration of writing, however, is executed through calligraphic forms that are treated pictorially such that they are abstracted; his letters are turned into ambiguous signs that could belong to any of a number of languages. Whether these marks, these writings, are legible or incomprehensible, they elucidate Adunis’s desire to break free of the rules of language, to find his own sensory means of communication through fine art. Adunis’s collages that combine layers of relief set up a space in contradiction with the smoothness of the written text that fills them; the two complete each other, though, in spite of their contrary appearance.

In 19 May 2014 Salwa Zeidan Gallery in Abu Dhabi, was home to another noted exhibition by Adunis: Muallaqat[21] (in reference to the original pre-Islamic era literary works Mu'allaqat, consisted of 10 calligraphy drawings of big format (150x50cm), where Adunis combines the poetic of text with the poetic of visual language, to create a world of intimate and wonderfully whimsical narratives. These Muallaqat are carrying names of the most influential Arab poets: Umroua Al Kais, Zuhair, Turfa, Hares Bin Halza, Amro Ibn Kultoom, Antara Bin Chaddad, Labeed, Obeid Ibn Al Abrass, Al Aasha and Al Nabegha.

Other Art Exhibitions[edit]

  • 2000: Berlin - Institute for Advanced Studies
  • 2000 : Paris - L`Institut du Monde Arabe
  • 2003: Paris - Area Gallery
  • 2007: Amman -Shuman`s Gallery (co-exhibition With Haydar)
  • 2008: Damascus - Atassy Gallery, exh. For 4 Poets-Painters (with works of Fateh Mudarress, Etel Adnan, Samir Sayegh)
  • 2008 : Paris - Le Louvre des Antiquaires : Calligraphies d`Orient. (Collectif)

Arab spring[edit]

In June 14, 2011 amid the bloody crackdown on the Syrian uprising, Adonis wrote an open letter [22] to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir- "as a citizen," he stresses. Describing Syria as a brutal police state, he attacked the ruling Ba'ath Party, called on the president to step down, and warned that "you cannot imprison an entire nation". He was nonetheless taken to task for addressing a tyrant as an elected president, and criticising the "violent tendencies" of some of his opponents. "That's why I said I'm not like the revolutionaries," he says. "I'm with them, but I don't speak the same language. They're like school teachers telling you how to speak, and to repeat the same words. Whereas I left Syria in 1956 and I've been in conflict with it for more than 50 years. I've never met either Assad [Bashar or his father, Hafez]. I was among the first to criticise the Ba'ath Party, because I'm against an ideology based on a singleness of ideas.

"What's really absurd is that the Arab opposition to dictators refuses any critique; it's a vicious circle. So someone who is against despotism in all its forms can't be either with the regime or with those who call themselves its opponents. The opposition is a regime avant la lettre." He adds: "In our tradition, unfortunately, everything is based on unity – the oneness of God, of politics, of the people. We can't ever arrive at democracy with this mentality, because democracy is based on understanding the other as different. You can't think you hold the truth, and that nobody else has it."

Nobel prize nomination[edit]

A perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature,[4] he has been regularly nominated for the award since 1988.

After the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer instead of Adunis in the year of the Arab Spring, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Peter Englund said it was not awarded based on politics, describing such a notion as "literature for dummies".[23]

Adunis has helped to spread Tomas Tranströmer fame in the Arab world, accompanying him on readings.,[24] he also introduced the translation of Transtromer complete Works (published by Bedayat publishing house, translated by the Iraqi Kassem Hamady), he stated that “Transtromer tries to present his human state in poetry, with poetry as the art revealing the situation. While his roots are deep into the land of poetry, with its classical, symbolic and rhythmic aspects, yet he cannot be classified as belonging to one school; he’s one and many, allowing us to observe through his poetry the seen and unseen in one mix creating his poetry, as if its essence is that of the flower of the world.”[24]

Critical reception[edit]

In 2011 Khaled Mattawa, translation of Adonis: Selected Poems by Adonis ISBN 9780300153064 was Selected as a finalist for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize sponsored by the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry [2]

In the same year (2011) translation of the book (Selected Poems by Adonis) won the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in which the Judges deemed it "Destined to become a classic" [2] Khaled Mattawa was also the winner of the 2011 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation given by PEN American Center for the same book.

Legacy and Influence[edit]

Adunis is a pioneer of modern Arabic poetry. He is often seen as a rebel, an iconoclast who follows his own rules. "Arabic poetry is not the monolith this dominant critical view suggests, but is pluralistic, sometimes to the point of self-contradiction."[25] Adunis's work has been analysed and illuminated by the pre-eminent Arab critic Kamal Abu-Deeb, with whom he edited the journal Mawakif in Beirut in the 1970s.

Some Arab poets are more popular than Adonis, Mahmoud Darwish the Palestinian poet, for instance, but none are more admired. A pioneer of the prose poem, he has played a role in Arab modernism comparable to T. S. Eliot's in English-language poetry.[26] The literary and cultural critic Edward Said professor of Columbia University calls him today's most daring and provocative Arab poet. The poet Samuel Hazo, who translated Adonis's collection The Pages of Day and Night, said, There is Arabic poetry before Adonis, and there is Arabic poetry after Adonis.

Experimental in style and prophetic in tone, Adonis's poetry combines the formal innovations of modernism with the mystical imagery of classical Arabic poetry. He has evoked the anguish of exile, the spiritual desolation of the Arab world, the intoxicating experiences of madness and erotic bliss, the existential dance of self and the other. But what defines his work, above all, is the force of creative destruction, which burns through everything he writes. We will die if we do not create gods/We will die if we do not kill them, he once wrote, echoing his favorite poet, Nietzsche (Friedrich Nietzsche).

Adonis has translated into Arabic poems by T. S. Eliot and the complete poetical works of Saint-John Perse and has published an anthology of Arabic poetry. His poetry and criticism have been credited with "far-reaching influence on the development of Arab poetry,"including the creation of" a new poetic language and rhythms, deeply rooted in classical poetry but employed to convey the predicament and responses of contemporary Arab society."[27] According to Mirene Ghossein, "one of the main contributions of Adonis to contemporary Arabic poetry is liberty-a liberty with themes, a liberty with words themselves through the uniqueness of poetic vision."[28] Selections of his work have been translated into English, Spanish, French, German, and other languages.

Awards and honours[edit]

  • 1968 Prix des Amis du Livre, Beirut [2]
  • 1971 Syria-Lebanon Award of the International Poetry Forum, Pittsburg.[29]
  • 1974 National Prize of Poetry, Beirut.
  • 1983 Member of the Académie Stéphane Mallarmé.
  • 1983 Appointed "Officier des Arts et des Lettres" by the Ministry of Culture, Paris.
  • 1986 Grand Prix des Biennales Internationales de la Poesie de Liège (Highest Award of the International Poem Biennial), Brussels.[30]
  • 1990 Member of Académie Universelle des Cultures, Paris.
  • 1991 Prix Jean-Marlieu-Etranger, Marseille.
  • 1993 Feronia-Cita di Fiamo Priwe, Rome.
  • 1995 International Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award - The first winner[31]
  • 1995 Prix Méditerranée-Etranger, Paris.
  • 1995 Prize of Lebanese Cultural Forum in France.
  • 1997 Golden Wreath of Struga Poetry Evenings
  • 1997 Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France[32]
  • 1999 Nonino Poetry Award, Italy[33]
  • 2002-2003 Al Owais Award for Cultural & Scientific Achievements, co winner[34]
  • 2003 America Award in Literature[35]
  • 2006 Medal of the Italian Cabinet. Awarded by the International Scientific Committee of the Manzu Centre.
  • 2006 Prize of "Pio Manzu – Centro Internazionale Recherche."
  • 2007 Bjørnson Prize[36]
  • 2011 Goethe Prize[37]
  • 2013 Golden Tibetan Antelope International Prize. co winner [38]
  • 2014 Janus Pannonius International Poetry Prize (co-winner)[2]
  • 2015 Asan Viswa Puraskaram- Kumaranasan World Prize for Poetry[39]

Bibliography : List of works[edit]

Adunis has written over twenty books in the Arabic language. Several of his poetry collections have been translated into English. Khaled Mattawa’s translation of Adonis: Selected Poems has been shortlisted for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Available in English
  • 1982:The blood of Adonis;: Transpositions of selected poems of Adonis (Ali Ahmed Said) (Pitt poetry series) ISBN 0-8229-3213-X
  • 1982: Transformations of the Lover. (trans. Samuel Hazo.) International Poetry Series, Volume 7. Ohio University Press. ISBN 0821407554
  • 1990: An Introduction to Arab Poetics, (essay) Saqi Books, London, translated By Catherine Cobham. ISBN 9780863563317
  • 1992: The poetics of T.S. Eliot and Adunis : a comparative study / Atif Y. Faddul, Alhamra Publishers. OCLC Number: 29492386
  • 1994: The Pages of Day and Night, The Marlboro Press, Marlboro Vermont, translated by Samuel Hazo. ISBN 0-8101-6081-1
  • 2003: If Only the Sea Could Sleep, éd. Green Integer 77, translated by Kamal Bullata, Susan Einbinder and Mirène Ghossein. ISBN 1-931243-29-8
  • 2004: A Time Between Ashes and Roses, Poems, With a forward of Nasser Rabbat, ed. Syracuse University Press, translation, critical Arabic edition by Shawkat M. Toorawa. ISBN 0-8156-0828-4
  • 2005: Sufism and Surrealism, (essay) edit. by Saqi Books, translated by Judith Cumberbatch. ISBN 0863565573
  • 2008: Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs. Translated by Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard - USA ISBN 1934414085
  • 2008: Victims of A Map: A Bilingual Anthology of Arabic Poetry.(trans. Abdullah Al-Udhari.) Saqi Books: London, 1984. ISBN 978-0863565243
  • 2011/2012: Adonis: Selected Poems translated into English by Khaled Mattawa Yale University Press, New Haven and London ISBN 9780300153064
Translations of Adonis available in French
  • 1982: Le Livre de la Migration, éd. Luneau Ascot, translated by martine Faideau, préface by Salah Stétié. ISBN 2903157251
  • 1983 : Chants de Mihyar le Damascène, éd. Sindbad, translated by Anne Wade Minkowsky, préface by Eugène Guillevic. Reprinted in 1995, Sindbad-Actes Sud. ISBN 978-2-7274-3498-6
  • 1984: Les Résonances Les Origines, translated by Chawki Abdelamir and Serge Sautreau, éd. Nulle Part. ISBN 2905395001
  • 1984: Ismaël, translated by Chawki Abdelamir and Serge Sautreau, éd. Nulle Part.
  • 1986: Tombeau pour New York, Suivi de Prologue à l’Histoire des Rois des Ta’ifa et de Ceci Est Mon Nom, ed. Sindbad ? translated by Anne W. Minkowsky. Reprinted in 1999, by éd. Sindbad/Actes Sud.
  • 1989: Cheminement du Désir Dans la Géographie de la Matière, éd. PAP, translated by A. W. Minkowski.
  • 1990: Le Temps Les Villes, éd. Mercure de France, translated by Jacques Berque and A. W. Minkowski, in collaboration with the author.
  • 1991: Célébrations, éd. La Différence, translated by A. W. M.
  • 1991: Chronique des Branches, éd. la Différence, translated by A.W.M. préface by Jacques Lacarrière.
  • 1991: Mémoire du Vent ( anthology), éd. Poésie/Gallimard, translated by C. Abdelamir, Claude Estéban, S. Sautreau, André Velter, A. W. M. and the author, préface by A. Velter. Reprinted in 1994, 97, 99, 2000, 03, 05.
  • 1994: La Madâ’a,éd. PAP, Translated by A. W. M.
  • 1994 : La Main de la Pierre Dessine le Lieu, éd. PAP, translated by A. W. M.
  • 1994: Soleils Seconds, éd. Mercure de France, translated by Jacques Berque.
  • 1995: Singuliers éd. Sindbad/Actes Sud, translated by Jacques Berque re-édited by éd . Gallimard 2002
  • 1997: Au Sein d’un Alphabet Second, 2d. Origine, translated by A. W. M.
  • 2003: Toucher La Lumière, éd. Imprimerie Nationale, présentation, Jean Yves Masson, translated by A. W. Minkowski.
  • 2004: Commencement Du Corps Fin De L’Océan, éd. Mercure de France, translated by Vénus Khoury-Ghata.
  • 2004: Alep, in collaboration with the artist photographer Carlos Freire, éd. Imprimerie Nationale, translated by Renée Herbouze,
  • 2007: Le Livre I – Al Kitâb I, edit. du Seuil, Traduit par Houriyya Abdel-Wahed.
  • 2008: Histoire qui se déchire sur le corps d’une femme. Ed. Mercure de France Traduit par Houriyya Abdel-Wahed.
Translations of Adonis available in Spanish
  • 1985: Introduction à la Poétique Arabe, éd; Shndbad, forword by Yves Bonnefoy, translated by Bassam Tahhan and A.W. M.
  • 1993: La Prière et l’Epée (essays on arab culture), éd. Mercure de France, intoduction by A. W. M., édited by Jean-Yves Masson, translated by Layla Khatîb and A. W. M.
  • 2001: Amitié, Temps et Lumière, co-author Dimitri Analis, éd. Obsidiane.
  • 2004: Identité Inachevée, in collaboration with Chantal Chawwaf,éd. du Rocher.
  • 2006: Conversation avec Adonis, mon père, co-author Ninar Esber éd. Seuil.
  • Note: A great number of translations have been published in other languages, including English, Italian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Norvegian, Persian, Spanish, Swedish, polish, Macedonian, Turkish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Indonesian.
Critical studies and appreciations in French
  • 1991: N° 16 of the review "Détours d’Ecriture", Paris.
  • 1991: N° 96 of the review "Sud", Marseille.
  • 1995: N° 8 of the review "L’Oeil du Boeuf", Paris.
  • 1996: May issue of the review "Esprit", Paris.
  • 1998: N° 2 of the review "Autre Sud" Marseille.
  • 1998: N° 28 of the review "Pleine Marge", Paris.
  • 2000: Michel Camus, Adonis le Visionnaire, éd. Du Rocher.
  • Some 19 Arabic books and great number of Academic dissertations on Adonis poetry are available.
Poetry (In Arabic)
  • 1957: Qasâ’id Ûla, Beirut.
  • 1958: Awrâk Fî l-Rîh, Beirut.
  • 1961: Aghâni Mihiâr al-Dimashqî, Beirut.
  • 1965: Kitâb al-Tahawwulât wal-Hijra fî Aqâlîm al-Nahâr wal-Layl, Beirut.
  • 1968: Al-Masrah wal-Marâya, Beirut.
  • 1970: Waqt Bayna l-Ramâd wal-Ward
  • 1977: Mufrad bi-Sighat al-Jam’, Beirut.
  • 1980: Kitâb al-Qasâ’id al-Khams, Beirut.
  • 1985: Kitâb al-Hisâr, Beirut.
  • 1987: Shahwa Tataqaddam fî Kharâ’it al-Mâdda, Casablanca.
  • 1988: Ihtifâ’an bil-Ashyâ’ al-Wadihat al-Ghâmida, Beirut.
  • 1994: Abjadiya Thânia, Casablanca.
  • 1995: Al-Kitâb, vol. 1, Beirut.
  • 1998: Al-Kitâb, vol. 2, Beirut
  • 1998: Fahras li-A’mâl al-Rîh, Beirut.
  • 2002: Al-Kitâb, vol. 3, Beirut.
  • 2003: Awwal al-Jassad, Âkhir al-Bahr
  • 2003: Tanabba’ Ayyuha’l ‘A’mâ.
  • 2006: Tãriikh Yatamazzaq fii Jassad Imra`a
  • 2007: Warraaq Yabii` Kutub al-Noujoum
  • 2007: Ihda` Hamlet, Tanachchaq Junoun Ophelia
  • 1971: Muqaddima lil-Shi’r al-Arabî, Beirut.
  • 1972: Zaman al-Shi’r, Beirut.
  • 1974: AL-Thâbit wal-Mutahawwil, vol. 1, Beirut.
  • 1977: AL-Thâbit wal-Mutahawwil, vol. 2, Beirut.
  • 1978: AL-Thâbit wal-Mutahawwil, vol. 3, Beirut.
  • 1980: Fâtiha li-Nihâyât al-Qarn, Beirut.
  • 1985: Al-Shi’ryyat al-Arabyya, Beirut.
  • 1985: Syasat al-Shi’r,Beirut.
  • 1992: Al-Sûfiyya wal-Sureâliyya, London.
  • 1993: Hâ Anta Ayyuha l-Waqt, Beirut.
  • 1993: Al-Nizâm wal-Kalâm, Beirut.
  • 1993: Al-Nass al-Qur’âni wa Âfâq al-Kitâba, Beirut.
  • 2002: Mûsiqa al-Hût al-Azraq, Beirut.
  • 2004: Al-Muheet al-Aswad, Beirut.
  • 2008: Ra`s Al-Lughah, Jism Al-Sahra`, Beirut
  • 2008: Al-Kitab Al-khitab Al-Hijab, Beiru
  • 1963: Mukhtârât min Shi’r Yûsuf al-Khâl, Beirut.
  • 1967: Mukhtârât min Shi’r al-Sayyâb, Beirut.
  • 1964 – 1968: Diwân al-Shi’r al-‘Arabî, Beyrut. (3 Volumes).
From French into Arabic
  • 1972 – 75: Georges Schehadé, Théâtre Complet, 6 vol. , Beirut.
  • 1972 – 75: Jean Racine, La Thébaïde, Phèdre, Beirut.
  • 1976 – 78: Saint-John Perse, Eloges, La Gloire des Rois, Anabase, Exils, Neiges, Poèmes à l’étrangère, Amers, 2 vols. , Damascus.
  • 1987: Yves Bonnefoye, Collected Poems, Damascus.
  • 2002: Ovide, Métamorphosis, Abu Dhabi, Cultural Foundation.
From Arabic into French
  • 1988- Abu l-Alâ’ al-Ma’arrî, Rets d’éternité (excerpts from the Luzûmiyyât) in collaboration with Anne Wade Minkowski, ed . Fayard, Paris.
  • 1998 - Khalil Gibran, Le Livre des Processions, in collaboration with Anne Wade Minkowski, éd. Arfuyen, Paris.

Studies and essays about Adonis (including as a topic)[edit]

  • "The Perplexity of the All-Knowing" in Mundus Artium by Kamal Abu-Deeb (1977)
  • Modern Arabic Poetry: An Anthology (1988) Salma Jayyusi
  • Modern Arab Poets 1950-1975 (1976) Issa Boullata (editor)
  • Adonis, the Syrian Crisis, and the Question of Pluralism in the Levant by Franck Salameh, Boston College [40]
  • Studies in Modern Arabic Prose and Poetry Publisher: Brill Academic Pub (August 1, 1997) ISBN 9004083596
  • The poetry of Adonis in translation : an analysis- Moutassem Salha: A dissertation submitted for the degree of Master of Arts at the University of Central Lancashire 2011 [40]
  • Asselineau, Roger; and Folsom, Ed. "Whitman and Lebanon's Adonis." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 15 (Spring 1998), 180-184.[41]
  • lecture: Ronald Perlwitz: The Nation of Poets: Novalis – Hölderlin – Adonis [42]
  • "Language, Culture, Reality." The View From Within: Writers and Critics on Contemporary Arabic Literature: A Selection from Alif Journal of Contemporary Poetics ed. Ferial J. Ghazoul and Barbara Harlow. The American University in Cairo Press, 1994.
  • "The Poet of Secrets and Roots, The Ḥallājian Adūnis" [Arabic]. Al-Ḍaw’ al-Mashriqī: Adūnis ka-mā Yarāhu Mufakkirūn wa-Shu‘arā’ ‘Ālamiyyūn [The Eastern Light: Adūnīs in the Eye of International Intellectuals and Poets] Damascus: Dār al-Ṭalī‘a, 2004: 177-179.
  • "‘Poète des secrets et des racines’: L’Adonis hallajien". Adonis: un poète dans le monde d’aujourd’hui 1950-2000. Paris: Institut du monde arabe, 2000: 171-172.
  • Religion, Mysticism and Modern Arabic Literature. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006.
  • "A Study of ‘Elegy for al-Ḥallāj’ by Adūnīs". Journal of Arabic Literature 25.2, 1994: 245-256.
  • Adunis, Mistranslated, Translation Review [43]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Griffin Poetry Prize 2011: International Shortlist". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Encyclopedia Britannica- Al-Thābit wa al mutaḥawwil - Work by Adonis". 
  3. ^ "Jadaliyya - Adunis, Mistranslated". 
  4. ^ a b McGrath, Charles (17 October 2010). "A Revolutionary of Arabic Verse". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2010. Every year around this time the name of the Syrian poet Adonis pops up in newspapers and in betting shops. Adonis (pronounced ah-doh-NEES), a pseudonym adopted by Ali Ahmad Said Esber in his teens as an attention getter, is a perennial favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature... as is the case with so many recent winners, most Americans have never heard of him. 
  5. ^ Pickering, Diego Gómez (11 November 2010). "Adonis speaks to Forward: The living legend of Arab poetry". Forward. Retrieved 11 November 2010. Last month, Adonis was robbed again of a Nobel Prize, after first being nominated in 1988. 
  6. ^ a b Jaggi, Maya (27 January 2012). "Adonis: a life in writing". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 27 January 2012. ...each autumn is credibly tipped for the Nobel in literature... 
  7. ^ "Adonis". Lexicorient. 
  8. ^ "BA in philosophy, Damascus University, 1954". 
  9. ^ "but pro government writers clashed with his agenda and forced him to flee the country". 
  10. ^ "Adonis: a life in writing". 
  11. ^ Moreh, Shmuel. Modern Arabic Poetry 1800-1970: The Development of its Forms and Themes under the Influence of Western Literature. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1976: 278-280; 285; 288.
  12. ^ Snir, Reuven. "Mysticism and Poetry in Arabic Literature". Orientalia Suecana XLIII-XLIV (1994-5) 165-175. V. Sufi Terms in the Service of Social Values, 171-3.
  13. ^ Butt, Aviva. "Adunis, Mysticism and the Neo-Sufi Trend." Poets from a War Torn World. SBPRA, 2012: 2-7.
  14. ^ Ibrahim, Youssef M. (7 March 1995). "Arabs Split on Cultural Ties to Israel". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ "Prominent Syrian poet Adunis calls on Assad to step down". Monsters and Critics. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Constitution-building: The long march", The Economist, 13 July 2013.
  17. ^ "The Funeral of New York is a violently anti-American long poem". 
  18. ^ "Whitman and Lebanon 's Adonis- Roger Asselineau - Ed Folsom". 
  19. ^ "Syrian poet Adunis introduces his artworks - gallery - The Guardian Interview 2012". 
  20. ^ "A Tribute To Adunis- The mosaic rooms". 
  21. ^ "PRESS RELEASE: Salwa Zeidan Gallery to host solo exhibition for the greatest living poet of Arab world" (PDF). 
  22. ^ "Adonis, "Open Letter to President Bashar al-Assad; Man, His Basic Rights and Freedoms, or the Abyss," As-Safir, Beirut, June 14, 2011". 
  23. ^ Kite, Lorien (6 October 2011). "Sweden’s ‘buzzard’ poet wins Nobel Prize". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 October 2011. Before Thursday’s announcement, there had also been much speculation that the committee would choose to honor the Syrian poet Adunis in a gesture towards the Arab spring. Englund dismissed the notion that there was a political dimension to the prize; such an approach, he said, was "literature for dummies". 
  24. ^ a b "Adunis: Transtromer is deeply rooted in the land of poetry". Al-Ahram. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  25. ^ An Introduction to Arab Poetics, p. 10
  26. ^ "An Arab Poet Who Dares to Differ". 
  27. ^ Abdullah al-Udhari, trans., Victims of a Map [bilingual selection of poems by Mahmud Darwish, Samih al-Qasim, and Adonis] (London: Al Saqi, 1984), 87.
  28. ^ Mirene Ghossein, "Introduction," in Adonis, The Blood of Adonis> translated from the Arabic by Samuel Hazo (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1971), xviii.
  29. ^ "Adonis, International Writer in Residence". 
  30. ^ "The Poetry Foundation - Adonis". 
  31. ^ "Republic of turkey ministry of culture and tourism". 
  32. ^ "Adonis: a life in writing, The Guardian Interview by Maya Jaggi". 
  33. ^ "Nonino Prize Winners". 
  34. ^ "Winner Cultural & Scientific Achievments Eighth Circle 2002-2003". 
  35. ^ "America Award in Literature". 
  36. ^ "Freedom of speech prize to Syrian-Lebanese poet Adonis". 
  37. ^ "Syrian poet Adonis wins Germany's Goethe prize". Reuters. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  38. ^ "Arizona State University - along with Syrian poet Adonis". 
  39. ^ "Arab poet Adonis wins Asan award". The Hindu Online. April 7, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  40. ^ a b "Adonis, the Syrian Crisis, and the Question of Pluralism in the Levant by Franck Salameh, Boston College, Bustan: The Middle East Book Review 2012" (PDF). 
  41. ^ "Whitman and Lebanon's Adonis". 
  42. ^ "Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage, Goethe-Institute". 
  43. ^ "Mistranslated". 
  • Irwin, Robert "An Arab Surrealist". The Nation, January 3, 2005, 23–24, 37–38.

External links[edit]

Articles and interviews