Reading & Discussion: Syrian Poet ADONIS - Moderated by Khaled Mattawa

Sat, October 30, 2010 6:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Free and Open to the Public

Adonis was born Ali Ahmed Said in the village of Al Qassabin in Syria, in 1930. He studied philosophy at Damascus University. In 1956, after a year-long imprisonment for political activities, Adonis fled Syria for Beirut, Lebanon, where he joined a vibrant community of artists, writers, and exiles, and co-founded and edited Sh'ir, and later Muwaqaf, both progressive journals of poetry and politics. He studied at St. Joseph University in Beirut and obtained his Doctorat d'Etat in 1973.

Considered one of the Arab world's greatest living poets, Adonis is the author of numerous collections, including Mihyar of Damascus (BOA Editions, 2008), A Time Between Ashes and Roses (Syracuse University Press, 2004); If Only the Sea Could Sleep (2003); The Pages of Day and Night (2001); Transformations of the Lover (1982); The Book of the Five Poems (1980); The Blood of Adonis (1971), which was the winner of the Syria-Lebanon Award of the International Poetry Forum; Songs of Mihyar the Damascene (1961), Leaves in the Wind (1958), and First Poems (1957). He is also an essayist, an editor of anthologies, a theoretician of poetics, and the translator of several works from French into Arabic.

Over the course of his career, Adonis has fearlessly experimented with form and content, pioneering the prose poem in Arabic, and taking an influential, and sometimes controversial role in Arab modernism. Adonis's awards and honors include the first ever International Nâzim Hikmet Poetry Award, the Syria-Lebanon Best Poet Award, and the Highest Award of the International Poem Biennial in Brussels. He was elected as Stephen Mallarme Academy Member in Paris in 1983. He has taught at the Lebanese University as a professor of Arabic literature, at Damascus University, and at the Sorbonne. He has been a Lebanese citizen since 1961 and currently lives in Paris.

Khaled Mattawa has published several collections of poetry, including Tocqueville (2010), Amorisco (2008), Zodiac of Echoes (2003), and Ismailia Eclipse (1995). He has translated numerous volumes of contemporary Arabic poetry, including Shepherd of Solitude: Selected Poems of Amjad Nasser (2009) and Miracle Maker: Selected Poems of Fadhil Al-Azzawi (2004), in addition to co-editing the anthologies Dinarzad’s Children: An Anthology of Arab American Fiction (2004) and Post Gibran: Anthology of New Arab American Writing (1999).

Mattawa has been awarded several Pushcart Prizes and the PEN Award for Literary Translation, in addition to a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, and the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University. He has taught at Indiana University; California State University, Northridge; and the University of Michigan.

Last updated: 2010-10-19 00:18:35


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