On Entering the Sea: The Erotic and Other Poetry of Nizar Qabbani

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A unique collection by the Arab world's most renowned poet. In a political age, in which the struggle against external and internal oppression has become central in Arabic poetry, Nizar Qabbani has succeeded in re-establishing the vitality and perennial force of the erotic in human life. Picking up a tradition of Arabic love poetry sixteen centuries old, he has enriched it with the experience of a modern man deeply aware of the changing status of women in contemporary times, and given the most eloquent poetic ...

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Overview

A unique collection by the Arab world's most renowned poet. In a political age, in which the struggle against external and internal oppression has become central in Arabic poetry, Nizar Qabbani has succeeded in re-establishing the vitality and perennial force of the erotic in human life. Picking up a tradition of Arabic love poetry sixteen centuries old, he has enriched it with the experience of a modern man deeply aware of the changing status of women in contemporary times, and given the most eloquent poetic expression to the imperative of woman's freedom and her right to assume control over her body and emotions. An accomplished master of the erotic, standing among the best love poets of the world, Qabbani has asserted life and joy in the face of chaos and tragedy, paying fervent homage, sustained over five decades, to woman's grace and loveliness. As such he has been able to bring equilibrium and decorum to poetry in crisis, reviving faith in the possibility of happiness and emotional fulfillment. Yet he is also moved to anger by the forces of evil around him, and the opposing poles of exaltation and rage, of agony and ecstasy, describe his unique experiment. A man of his times and of all times, he is by far the most popular poet in the Arab world.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This volume presents a generous selection of the work of an important poet in Arabic to the English-speaking world. It is very curious, then, that it should be oddly arranged (not by date or collection but by translator) and rather misleadingly introduced. Promotion copy and introduction all loudly proclaim Qabbani a supreme poet of love and beauty, yet to believe this is probably to misunderstand him altogether. Love is mentioned everywhere, indeed, but the poet who can say of the love-object "more beautiful still/ is the imprint of her feet/ across our papers," or "I love you that I remain bound/ to God, to the land, to history, to time" is not writing love poetry. His subject is the collision of the Arab outlook with modern culture, and his antique images of love-fountains and does and black hair-clash intriguingly with the clocks and visas and tape-recorders of modernity. Qabbani's poems of exile and elegy ("Um Al-Mu'taz," "A Lesson in Drawing") are especially deeply felt, and he is a poet of subtle intelligence. For most poetry or world literature collections.-Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Donna Seaman
Qabbani, reputed to be the most popular poet in the Arab world, is certainly one of the greatest love poets of all time, as he follows the noble path of Kahlil Gibran. Although wonderfully prolific and internationally renowned, Damascus-born Qabbani has been all but unavailable in English translations in the U.S. This beautiful collection rectifies that situation. The volume's introduction asserts that Qabbani is a heroic champion of women's rights who, by equating beauty and eroticism with liberty and justice, and celebrating women in all their strength and glory, challenges in his poetry his culture's cruel repression of women. In his classically passionate poems, poems as bright as flowers and as caressing as a pool of water, Qabbani declares that to be female is to be holy. This is a sweet message for any woman, but especially for Arabian women, who are viewed as the property of their male relatives. Whether he's writing of love or war, Qabbani achieves a mythic dimension.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566561860
  • Publisher: Interlink Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Series: Bestselling Poetry and Drama Series
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.83 (d)

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