Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone?

Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone?

by Mahmoud Darwish, Jeffrey Sacks
     
 

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At once an intimate autobiography and a collective memory of the Palestinian people, Darwish’s intertwined poems are collective cries, songs, and glimpses of the human condition. Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? is a poetry of myth and history, of exile and suspended time, of an identity bound to his displaced people and to the rich Arabic language.…  See more details below

Overview

At once an intimate autobiography and a collective memory of the Palestinian people, Darwish’s intertwined poems are collective cries, songs, and glimpses of the human condition. Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? is a poetry of myth and history, of exile and suspended time, of an identity bound to his displaced people and to the rich Arabic language. Darwish’s poems – specific and symbolic, simple and profound – are historical glimpses, existential queries, chants of pain and injustice of a people separated from their land.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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

A book of nostalgia and love . . . The book tugs at the reader’s heart page after page, poem after poem, line after line, you cannot remain apathetic for a moment . . . Only a very callused person could read these poems without getting emotional. —Haaretz

In this definitive Palestinian history, Mahmoud Darwish is turning his personal biography into a modern, low-keyed national epic. In the morning after Oslo, Darwish said "the Palestinians woke up only to find out that they had no past." But we, the survivors of that mnemectomy, the readers of this Horse, will always know that 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

Darwish's complex linguistic negotiations of deeply contested places, on the earth and in the mind, demand and sustain serious reading and discussion. —Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
"Poetry is our ladder to the moon," explains Palestinian author Darwish, and in this bilingual edition he uses it achingly to create both personal and collective history. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780976395010
Publisher:
Steerforth Press
Publication date:
04/12/2006
Edition description:
Bilingual
Pages:
197
Sales rank:
1,156,699
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Cloud in my Hand
They saddled the horses They didn’t know why But they saddled the horses on the plain
The place was ready for his birth. A hill of his ancestors’ basil that looks east and west. An olive tree near another in the holy books lifts the surfaces of language . . . Azure smoke prepares the day for an affair that concerns only God. March is the pampered child of months. It combs cotton from the almond tree. It gives a banquet of mallow to the church courtyard March is a land for the swallow’s night, and for a woman preparing for her scream in the wilderness . . . stretching across the oak trees
A child is born His scream in the cracks of the place
We parted at the steps of the house. They said: In my scream there’s a caution that doesn’t suit the abandon of the plants
In my scream there’s rain; did I wrong my brothers when I said I saw angels playing with the wolf in the courtyard? I don’t remember their names. And I don’t remember the way they spoke . . . or the way they lightly flew
My friends shimmer like the night without leaving a trace behind them. Should I tell my mother the truth? I have other brothers
Brothers who put a moon on my balcony Brothers who weave, with their needles, a coat of daisies

Meet the Author

Mahmoud Darwish (1941–2008) was born in the village of al-Birwa, in the Galilee, Palestine. He became a refugee at age seven. He worked as a journalist and editor in Haifa and left to study in Moscow in 1970. His exilic journey took him to Cairo, Beirut, Tunis, Paris, Amman, and Ramallah, where he settled in 1995. He is one of the most celebrated and revered poets in the Arab world. He published more than thirty books, and his poetry has been translated into thirty-five languages. Darwish was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by France in 1993, was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize in 2001, the Prince Claus Awardin 2004, and the Cairo Prize for Arabic Poetry in 2007. Jeffrey Sacks is a writer, translator, and scholar living in New York City. He teaches Arabic at Columbia University and is completing a book on Arabic and Arab Jewish literature, Opening Figures: Acts of Mourning in Modern Arabic Letters.

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