In the Presence of Absence

Overview

"Darwish is to be read with urgency, in the night, when nothing else moves but his lines." —The Village Voice

By one of the most transcendent poets of this generation, a remarkable collection of prose poems that explores themes of love, pain, isolation, and connection. In this self-eulogy written in the final years of Mahmoud Darwish's life, Palestine becomes a metaphor for the injustice and pain of our contemporary moment.

Mahmoud Darwish ...

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In the Presence of Absence

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Overview

"Darwish is to be read with urgency, in the night, when nothing else moves but his lines." —The Village Voice

By one of the most transcendent poets of this generation, a remarkable collection of prose poems that explores themes of love, pain, isolation, and connection. In this self-eulogy written in the final years of Mahmoud Darwish's life, Palestine becomes a metaphor for the injustice and pain of our contemporary moment.

Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) was one of the most acclaimed poets in the Arab world. His poetry collections include Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? and A River Dies of Thirst (Archipelago Books). In 2001 Darwish was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize.

2012 PEN Translation Prize Runner-up

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Darwish is to be read with urgency, in the night, when nothing else moves but his lines.” —The Village Voice

“Darwish is the premier poetic voice of the Palestinian people . . . lyrical, imagistic, plaintive, haunting, always passionate, and elegant—and never anything less than free—what he would dream for all his people.” —Naomi Shihab Nye

“Mahmoud Darwish is one of the greatest poets of our time. In his poetry Palestine becomes the map of the human soul.” —Elias Khoury

“Then came silence. Mahmoud Darwish began to read. We did not know a word of Arabic, but we heard his voice reach out and sink deep down to pluck the strings of the Palestinian soul. It was a magical night in Ramallah, the magician, Mahmoud Darwish, whose spell was cast the way it has been through ages—simply by being that elusive archetype, much envied and feared by power —a poet at ease with, because attuned to, his own people.” —Wole Soyinka

"There are two maps of Palestine that politicians will never manage to forfeit: the one kept in the memories of Palestinian refugees, and that which is drawn by Darwish’s poetry.” —Anton Shammas

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935744016
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press
  • Publication date: 11/4/2011
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 621,492
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) was one of the most acclaimed poets in the Arab world. His twenty books of poetry include Mural, The Bed of the Stranger, State of Siege, Do Not Apologize for What You Have Done, and Eleven Planets. He has also written several books of prose, including Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982 and Journal of an Ordinary Grief (Forthcoming). Born in the town of Birweh in upper Galilee, Palestine, he and his family fled to Lebanon in 1948. After returning to the newly formed state of Israel, he began writing poetry that gave a voice to the sense of uprootedness of the Palestinian people. He wrote the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence. In 2001, Darwish was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize.

Sinan Antoon is an Iraqi poet and novelist. His translation of Darwish’s poetry was nominated for the PEN Translation Prize in 2004. In 2008 and 2009, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is currently a professor at New York University.

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Read an Excerpt

I scatter you before me line by line with a mastery I possessed only in beginnings. Just as you asked me, I stand now in your name to thank those who have come to bid you farewell before this final journey and to call on them to hasten their farewell and go on to a banquet befitting your memory.

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