Calling poetry a "question that begets another question," Adonis sets into motion this stream of unending inquiry with difficult questions about exile, identity, language, politics, and religion. Repeatedly mentioned as a possible Nobel laureate, Adonis is a leading figure in twentieth-century Arabic poetry.
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.