Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $10.32
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 61%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $10.32   
  • New (2) from $74.03   
  • Used (9) from $10.32   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.


Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:


Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


Mahmoud Darwish is a literary rarity: at once critically acclaimed as one of the most important poets in the Arabic language, and beloved as the voice of his people. He is a living legend whose lyrics are sung by fieldworkers and schoolchildren. He has assimilated some of the world's oldest literary traditions at the same time that he has struggled to open new possibilities for poetry. This collection spans Darwish's entire career, nearly four decades, revealing an impressive range of expression and form. A splendid team of translators has collaborated with the poet on these new translations, which capture Darwish's distinctive voice and spirit.

Author Biography: Mahmoud Darwish is the author of twenty books of poems, including Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982 (California, 1995), The Adam of Two Edens (2001), and Psalms (1994). He received the 2001 Prize for Cultural Freedom from the Lannan Foundation. Munir Akash is editor of Jusoor, The Arab American Journal of Cultural Exchange, and coeditor of The Adam of Two Edens (2001) and Post Gibran: Anthropology of New Arab American Writing (2000). Carolyn Forché is Professor of English at George Mason University and author of The Angel of History (1994). Sinan Antoon is coeditor of Arab Studies Journal. Amira El-Zein is the author of Bedouin of Hell (1992) and The Book of Palm Trees (1973).

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Adrienne Rich
These translations of Mahmoud Darwish's marvelous poems reveal the lifelong development of a major world poet. The book is a gift to other poets and lovers of poetry. It's also an important contribution to current and future discourse on culture and politics.
Village Voice
Unfortunately, It Was Paradise offers poems, rooted in ancient traditions, that map his voyage as a Palestinian and poet (equally problematic identitiesŠ. Deserving of more prominence in a literary scene still accustomed to Eurocentricity, Darwish is to be read with urgency, in the night, when nothing else moves but his lines.
Naomi Shihab Nye
At this critical moment in world relations, cultural, creative projects feel more necessary than ever. Celebrate this most comprehensive gathering of Mahmoud Darwish's poetry ever translated into English. Darwish is the premier poetic voice of the Palestinian people, and the collaboration between translators Akash and Forché is a fine mingling of extraordinary talents. The style here is quintessential Darwish-lyrical, imagistic, plaintive, haunting, always passionate, and elegant-and never anything less than free-what he would dream for all his people.
Adam Shatz
As the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has observed, Palestine is a metaphor for the loss of Eden, for the sorrows of dispossession and exile, for the declining power of the Arab world in its dealings with the West. Mr. Darwish, who is widely considered the Palestinian national poet, has developed this metaphor to richly lyrical effect . . . . Like Yehuda Amichai, the Israeli poet he read in Hebrew as a young man, Mr. Darwish has given expression to his people's ordinary longings and desires.
New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
This book's publication is a major event. . . . Darwish is a literary giant whose voice is passionate and universal.
Publishers Weekly
When Darwish's selected The Adam of Two Edens was published by Syracuse in late 2000, the second Palestinian intifada was not yet bound up in "the war on terror," and the book did not get much play, perhaps partially due to its disparate translations (and an uninviting cover). That should not be the case with this second selection of work by the poet often spoken of as the national poet of Palestine. Darwish, who lived more than 25 years in exile from his native Haifa, is currently living in Ramallah, and these selections, covering five books and 20 or so years, are uncompromising and powerful. Akash is the editor of Jusoor: The Arab American Journal of Cultural Exchange and co-editor of Post Gibran: An Anthology of New Arab American Writing (2000), but the key here is Forch (The Angel of History, etc.), who brings out the thorny immediacy and consistency in Darwish's complex linguistic negotiations of deeply contested places-places on the earth and in the mind. It is difficult to summarize those spaces here, but suffice to say that Darwish, as rendered in this English-only edition, demands, and sustains, serious reading and discussion, as in the magisterial long poem "Mural" from 2000: "I will dream, not to correct any meaning beyond me,/ but to heal the inner desolation of its terrible drought." (Jan.) Forecast: Darwish won the Lannan Foundation's $350,000 Prize for Cultural Freedom last year, and the foundation also underwrote this edition. Darwish was profiled last December in the New York Times; expect serious review attention for this book, and extensive attention to Darwish himself, though he is unlikely to travel to the U.S. as the book pubs. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520237544
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Mahmoud Darwish is the author of twenty books of poems, including Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982 (California, 1995), The Adam of Two Edens (2001), and Psalms (1994). He received the 2001 Prize for Cultural Freedom from the Lannan Foundation. Munir Akash is editor of Jusoor, The Arab American Journal of Cultural Exchange, and coeditor of The Adam of Two Edens (2001) and Post Gibran: Anthropology of New Arab American Writing (2000). Carolyn Forché is Professor of English at George Mason University and author of The Angel of History (1994). Sinan Antoon is coeditor of Arab Studies Journal. Amira El-Zein is the author of Bedouin of Hell (1992) and The Book of Palm Trees (1973).

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Unfortunately, It Was Paradise

Selected Poems

By Mahmoud Darwish, Munir Akash, Carolyn Forché, Sinan Antoon, Amira El-Zein


Copyright © 2013 The Regents of the University of California
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-520-95460-1


    I Will Slog over This Road

    I will slog over this endless road to its end.
    Until my heart stops, I will slog over this endless, endless road
    with nothing to lose but the dust, what has died in me, and a row of palms
    pointing toward what vanishes. I will pass the row of palms.
    The wound does not need its poet to paint the blood of death like a pomegranate!
    On the roof of neighing, I will cut thirty openings for meaning
    so that you may end one trail only so as to begin another.
    Whether this earth comes to an end or not, we'll slog over this endless road.
    More tense than a bow. Our steps, be arrows. Where were we a moment ago?
    Shall we join, in a while, the first arrow? The spinning wind whirled us.
    So, what do you say?

    I say: I will slog over this endless road to its end and my own.

    Another Road in the Road

    There is yet another road in the road, another chance for migration.
    To cross over we will throw many roses in the river.
    No widow wants to return to us, there we have to go, north of the
    neighing horses.
    Have yet we forgotten something, both simple and worthy of our new ideas?
    When you talk about yesterday, friend, I see my face reflected in the song
    of doves.
    I touch the dove's ring and hear flute-song in the abandoned fig tree.
    My longing weeps for everything. My longing shoots back at me, to kill or
    be killed.
    Yet there is another road in the road, and on and on. So where are the
    questions taking me?
    I am from here, I am from there, yet am neither here nor there.
    I will have to throw many roses before I reach a rose in Galilee.

    Were It Up to Me to Begin Again

    Were it up to me to begin again, I would make the same choice. Roses on
    the fence.
    I would travel the same roads that might or might not lead to Cordoba.
    I would lay my shadow down on two rocks, so that birds could nest on one of
    the boughs.
    I would break open my shadow for the scent of almond to float in a cloud of dust
    and grow tired on the slopes. Come closer, and listen.
    Share my bread, drink my wine, don't leave me alone like a tired willow.
    I love lands not trod over by songs of migration, or become subject to
    passions of blood and desire.
    I love women whose hidden desires make horses put an end to their lives at
    the threshold.
    If I return, I will return to the same rose and follow the same steps.
    But never to Cordoba.

    On This Earth

    We have on this earth what makes life worth living: April's hesitation, the
    aroma of bread
    at dawn, a woman's point of view about men, the works of Aeschylus, the
    of love, grass on a stone, mothers living on a flute's sigh and the invaders' fear
    of memories.

    We have on this earth what makes life worth living: the final days of
    September, a woman
    keeping her apricots ripe after forty, the hour of sunlight in prison, a cloud
    reflecting a swarm
    of creatures, the peoples' applause for those who face death with a smile,
    a tyrant's fear of songs.

    We have on this earth what makes life worth living: on this earth, the Lady
    of Earth,
    mother of all beginnings and ends. She was called Palestine. Her name
    later became
    Palestine. My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life.

    I Belong There

    I belong there. I have many memories. I was born as everyone is born.
    I have a mother, a house with many windows, brothers, friends, and a prison cell
    with a chilly window! I have a wave snatched by seagulls, a panorama of my own.
    I have a saturated meadow. In the deep horizon of my word, I have a moon,
    a bird's sustenance, and an immortal olive tree.
    I have lived on the land long before swords turned man into prey.
    I belong there. When heaven mourns for her mother, I return heaven to
    her mother.
    And I cry so that a returning cloud might carry my tears.
    To break the rules, I have learned all the words needed for a trial by blood.
    I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a
    single word: Home.

    Addresses for the Soul, outside This Place

    I love to travel ...
    to a village that never hangs my last evening on its cypresses. I love the trees
    that witnessed how two birds suffered at our hands, how we raised the stones.
    Wouldn't it be better if we raised our days
    to grow slowly and embrace this greenness? I love the rainfall
    on the women of distant meadows. I love the glittering water and the scent
    of stone.
    Wouldn't it be better if we defied our ages
    and gazed much longer at the last sky before moonset?
    Addresses for the soul, outside this place. I love to travel
    to any wind ... But I don't love to arrive.

    Earth Presses against Us

    Earth is pressing against us, trapping us in the final passage.
    To pass through, we pull off our limbs.
    Earth is squeezing us. If only we were its wheat, we might die and yet live.
    If only it were our mother so that she might temper us with mercy.
    If only we were pictures of rocks held in our dreams like mirrors.
    We glimpse faces in their final battle for the soul, of those who will be killed
    by the last living among us. We mourn their children's feast.
    We saw the faces of those who would throw our children out of the windows
    of this last space. A star to burnish our mirrors.
    Where should we go after the last border? Where should birds fly after the
    last sky?
    Where should plants sleep after the last breath of air?
    We write our names with crimson mist!
    We end the hymn with our flesh.
    Here we will die. Here, in the final passage.
    Here or there, our blood will plant olive trees.

    We Journey towards a Home

    We journey towards a home not of our flesh. Its chestnut trees are not of
    our bones.
    Its rocks are not like goats in the mountain hymn. The pebbles' eyes are
    not lilies.
    We journey towards a home that does not halo our heads with a special sun.
    Mythical women applaud us. A sea for us, a sea against us.
    When water and wheat are not at hand, eat our love and drink our tears ...
    There are mourning scarves for poets. A row of marble statues will lift our voice.
    And an urn to keep the dust of time away from our souls. Roses for us and
    against us.
    You have your glory, we have ours. Of our home we see only the unseen:
    our mystery.
    Glory is ours: a throne carried on feet torn by roads that led to every home
    but our own!
    l'he soul must recognize itself in its very soul, or die here.

    We Travel Like All People

    We travel like everyone else, but we return to nothing. As if travel were
    a path of clouds. We buried our loved ones in the shade of clouds and
    between roots of trees.
    We said to our wives: Give birth for hundreds of years, so that we may end
    this journey
    within an hour of a country, within a meter of the impossible!

    We travel in the chariots of the Psalms, sleep in the tents of the prophets,
    and are born again in the language of Gypsies.
    We measure space with a hoopoe's beak, and sing so that distance may forget us.
    We cleanse the moonlight. Your road is long, so dream of seven women to bear
    this long journey on your shoulders. Shake the trunks of palm trees for them.
    You know the names, and which one will give birth to the Son of Galilee.
    Ours is a country of words: Talk. Talk. Let me rest my road against a stone.
    Ours is a country of words: Talk. Talk. Let me see an end to this journey.

    Athens Airport

    Athens airport disperses us to other airports. Where can I fight? asks the fighter.
    Where can I deliver your child? a pregnant woman shouts back.
    Where can I invest my money? asks the officer.
    This is none of my business, the intellectual says.
    Where did you come from? asks the customs' official.
    And we answer: From the sea!
    Where are you going?
    To the sea,
we answer.
    What is your address?
    A woman of our group says: My village is the bundle on my back.
    We have waited in the Athens airport for years.
    A young man marries a girl but they have no place for their wedding night.
    He asks: Where can I make love to her?
    We laugh and say: This is not the right time for that question.
    The analyst says: In order to live, they die by mistake.
    The literary man says: Our camp will certainly fall.
    What do they want from us?

    Athens airport welcomes its visitors without end.
    Yet, like the benches in the terminal, we remain, impatiently waiting for
    the sea.
    How many more years longer, O Athens airport?

    I Talk Too Much

    I talk too much about the slightest nuance between women and trees,
    about the earth's enchantment, about a country with no passport stamp.
    I ask: Is it true, good ladies and gentlemen, that the earth of Man is for all
    human beings
    as you say? In that case, where is my little cottage, and where am I?
    The conference audiences applaud me for another three minutes,
    three minutes of freedom and recognition.
    The conference approves our right of return,
    like all chickens and horses, to a dream made of stone.
    I shake hands with them, one by one. I bow to them. Then I continue my journey
    to another country and talk about the difference between a mirage and the rain.
    I ask: Is it true, good ladies and gentlemen, that the earth of Man is for all
    human beings?

    We Have the Right to Love Autumn

    And we, too, have the right to love the last days of autumn and ask:
    Is there room in the field for a new autumn, so we may lie down like coals?
    An autumn that blights its leaves with gold.
    If only we were leaves on a fig tree, or even neglected meadow plants
    that we may observe the seasons change!
    If only we never said goodbye to the fundamentals
    and questioned our fathers when they fled at knife point. May poetry and
    God's name have mercy on us!
    We have the right to warm the nights of beautiful women, and talk about
    what might shorten the night of two strangers waiting for the North to reach
    the compass.
    It's autumn. We have the right to smell autumn's fragrances and ask the night
    for a dream.
    Does the dream, like the dreamers themselves, sicken? Autumn. Autumn.
    Can a people be born on a guillotine?
    We have the right to die any way we wish.
    May the earth hide itself away in an ear of wheat!

    The Last Train Has Stopped

    The last train has stopped at the last platform. No one is there
    to save the roses, no doves to alight on a woman made of words.
    Time has ended. The ode fares no better than the foam.
    Don't put faith in our trains, love. Don't wait for anyone in the crowd.
    The last train has stopped at the last platform. But no one
    can cast the reflection of Narcissus back on the mirrors of night.
    Where can I write my latest account of the body's incarnation?
    It's the end of what was bound to end! Where is that which ends?
    Where can I free myself of the homeland in my body?
    Don't put faith in our trains, love. The last dove flew away.
    The last train has stopped at the last platform. And no one was there.


Excerpted from Unfortunately, It Was Paradise by Mahmoud Darwish, Munir Akash, Carolyn Forché, Sinan Antoon, Amira El-Zein. Copyright © 2013 The Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

I Will Slog over This Road 3
Another Road in the Road 4
Were it Up to Me to Begin Again 5
On This Earth 6
I Belong There 7
Addresses for the Soul, outside This Place 8
Earth Presses against Us 9
We Journey towards a Home 10
We Travel Like All People 11
Athens Airport 12
I Talk Too Much 13
We Have the Right to Love Autumn 14
The Last Train Has Stopped 15
On the Slope, Higher Than the Sea, They Slept 16
He Embraces His Murderer 17
Winds Shift against Us 18
Neighing on the Slope 19
Other Barbarians Will Come 20
They Would Love to See Me Dead 21
When the Martyrs Go to Sleep 22
The Night There 23
We Went to Aden 24
Another Damascus in Damascus 25
The Flute Cried 26
In This Hymn 27
The Hoopoe 31
I See My Ghost Coming from Afar 55
A Cloud in My Hands 58
The Kindhearted Villagers 61
The Owl's Night 63
The Everlasting Indian Fig 65
The Lute of Ismael 67
The Strangers' Picnic 71
The Raven's Ink 74
Like the Letter "N" in the Qur'an 77
Ivory Combs 79
The Death of the Phoenix 82
Poetic Regulations 85
Excerpts from the Byzantine Odes of Abu Firas 87
The Dreamers Pass from One Sky to Another 89
A Rhyme for the Odes (Mu'allaqat) 91
Night That Overflows My Body 94
The Gypsy Woman Has a Tame Sky 96
We Were without a Present 101
Sonnet II 105
The Stranger Finds Himself in the Stranger 106
The Land of the Stranger, the Serene Land 108
Inanna's Milk 110
Who Am I, without Exile? 113
Lesson from the Kama Sutra 115
Mural 119
A Soldier Dreams of White Tulips 165
As Fate Would Have it 169
Four Personal Addresses 179
Glossary 183
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Unfortunately, It Was Paradise

By Mahmoud Darwish

The University of California Press

Copyright © 2003 Regents of the University of California
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-520-23754-4


Mahmoud Darwish is a literary rarity. Critically acclaimed as one of the most important poets in the Arabic language and beloved as the voice of his people, he is an artist demanding of his work continual transformation and a living legend whose lyrics are sung by fieldworkers and schoolchildren. Few poets have borne such disparately bestowed adulation, nor survived such dramatic vicissitudes of history and fate as Mahmoud Darwish; even fewer have done so while endeavoring to open new possibilities for poetry while assimilating one of the world's oldest literary traditions. His poetry has been enthusiastically embraced since the publication of his first volume, Leaves of Olive, in 1964. After the Arab defeat in the 1967 war, Darwish raised his voice in searing lyrics confronting the pain of everyday life for Palestinians. In a realism stripped of poetic flourish, the "poetry of resistance" was born. With Nerudian transparency, his poems of the sixties and early seventies reflected his pain over the occupation of his homeland and his lingering hopes for its liberation. In the intervening years, the poetry of Darwish exemplified a brilliant artistic restlessness, with each volume opening new formal territory and poeticconcerns. With the publication of this collection, Darwish will celebrate his sixty-first birthday and nearly four decades of writing. He is the poet laureate of Palestine-a poet sharing the fate of his people, living in a town under siege, while providing them with a language for their anguish and dreams. Any serious study of his work must take into account the context in which it was written: the years of exilic wandering and survival; the aesthetic, metaphysical, and political struggles particular to this poet.

Mahmoud Darwish was born in the village of Birwe, in the district of Akka (Acre) in upper Galilee, Palestine, on March 13, 1942. When he was six years old, the Israeli Army occupied and subsequently destroyed Birwe, along with 416 other Palestinian villages. To avoid the ensuing massacres, the Darwish family fled to Lebanon. A year later, they returned to their country "illegally," and settled in the nearby village of Dayr al-Asad, but too late to be counted among the Palestinians who survived and remained within the borders of the new state. The young Darwish was now an "internal refugee," legally classified as a "present-absent alien," a species of Orwellian doublethink that the poet would later interrogate in his lyric meditation "The Owl's Night," wherein the present is "placeless, transient, absurd," and absence "mysterious," "human," and "unwanted," "going about its own preoccupations and piling up its chosen objects. Like a small jar of water," he writes, "absence breaks in me." The newly "alienated" Palestinians fell under military rule and were sent into a complex legal maze of emergency rulings. They could not travel within their homeland without permission, nor, apparently, could the eight-year-old Darwish recite a poem of lamentation at the school celebration of the second anniversary of Israel without subsequently incurring the wrath of the Israeli military governor. Thereafter he was obliged to hide whenever an Israeli officer appeared. During his school years, and until he left the country in 1970, Darwish would be imprisoned several times and frequently harassed, always for the crimes of reciting his poetry and traveling without a permit from village to village.

Birwe was erased from land and map, but remained intact in memory, the mirage of a lost paradise. In 1997, the Israeli-French filmmaker, Simone Bitton, went to what had been Birwe to film Darwish's childhood landscape, but found nothing but ruins and a desolate, weed-choked cemetery. On April 16, 2001, Israeli bulldozers began paving a new road through the graves, unearthing human remains throughout the site. The vanished Palestinian village became, for the displaced poet, a bundle of belongings carried on the back of the refugee. Denied the recognition of citizenship in the new state, Darwish settled on language as his identity, and took upon himself the task of restoration of meaning and thus, homeland:

Who am I? This is a question that others ask, but has no answer. I am my language, I am an ode, two odes, ten. This is my language. I am my language ... ("A Rhyme for the Odes," 91)

We travel like everyone else, but we return to nothing ... Ours is a country of words: Talk. Talk. ("We Travel Like All People," 11)

In 1996, after twenty-six years of exile, Darwish was granted a permit to visit his family and was warmly embraced by his compatriots, the "internal refugees." Thousands of cheering Palestinians greeted him in a festive way, chanting his popular poems. Darwish later reflected on the pain and longing he felt for his homeland: "As long as my soul is alive no one can smother my feeling of nostalgia for my country which I still consider as Palestine."

Darwish's twentieth book of poems, the recently published Mural, fuses lyric and epic in an impassioned meditation on the whole of his life and his own confrontation with mortality. The realized ambitions of this poem exemplify the poet's impressive range. Assimilating centuries of Arabic poetic forms and applying the chisel of modern sensibility to the richly veined ore of its literary past, Darwish subjected his art to the impress of exile and to his own demand that the work remain true to itself, independent of its critical or public reception. He has, as an artist, repeatedly confounded expectations, without shirking the role assigned to him by his peoples' historical experience. Perhaps no poet in our time has borne this weight: to be the esteemed and revered voice of a people, while remaining true to poetry itself, however hermetic and interior-to be at once culturally multiple and spiritually singular. His poetry is both the linguistic fruit of an internalized collective memory and an impassioned poetic response to his long absorption of regional and international poetic movements. As much as he is the voice of the Palestinian diaspora, he is the voice of the fragmented soul.

It is the soul of Palestine that Darwish has made resonant in his work, giving it presence in the midst of suffering and hardship. Moving from city to city, exile to exile, he has written out of a distinctly Palestinian sensibility and conscience, out of the richness of Palestine's cultural past and a belief in its common destiny. At the same time, he has become a poet and citizen of the world.

Darwish's poetic fraternity includes Federico García Lorca's canto hondo (deep song), Pablo Neruda's bardic epic range, Osip Mandelstam's elegiac poignancy, and Yehuda Amichai's sensitive lyric responsiveness to the contemporary history of the region. As a poet of exilic being, he resembles C. P. Cavafy, and shares with other poet-exiles of the past century a certain understanding of the exilic condition of literary art. Although his later collections became more universal in outlook, they are also a powerful outcry and statement of anguish-both of the topography of the soul and the calamity of his people. They lament the degeneration of the human condition and strive to stimulate latent forces to create a new destiny. If any particular obsession is sustained throughout his oeuvre, it would be the question of subjectivity itself, not only the mutability of identity, but its otherness. It is the spiritual dimension of what was, unfortunately, paradise, that he has most sustained in his life and work.

"I have found that the land is fragile," he said in Palestine As Metaphor:

and the sea, light; I have learned that language and metaphor are not enough to restore place to a place.... Not having been able to find my place on earth, I have attempted to find it in History, and History cannot be reduced to a compensation for lost geography. It is also a vantage point for shadows, for the self and the Other, apprehended in a more complex human journey.... Is this a simple, artistic ruse, a simple borrowing?

Or is it despair taking shape? The answer has no importance. The essential thing for me is that I have found a greater lyrical capacity, a passage from the relative to the absolute, an opening for me to inscribe the national within the universal, for Palestine not to be limited to Palestine, but to establish its aesthetic legitimacy in a greater human sphere.

It is our hope that this volume, and the recently published collection, The Adam of Two Edens, will extend his readership in the English-speaking world in this time of calamity in the poet's homeland.

Munir Akash Carolyn Forché Bethesda, Maryland August 2001 (Continues...)

Excerpted from Unfortunately, It Was Paradise by Mahmoud Darwish Copyright © 2003 by Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)