The Poet's Art and His Nation
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: Syracuse University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, About the Author
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One of the great privileges of my life was having the first Palestinian I met in Palestine be the poet Mahmoud Darwish. It was June 2000, and I had arrived as a Fulbright scholar to Palestine. The American embassy driver taking me to Ramallah...
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I am indebted to Srinivas Aravamudan, James Applewhite, Miriam Cooke, and Ian Baucom for their valuable insights on this manuscript. Warm gratitude goes to Mary Selden Evans for her enthusiasm for this book and to Deanna McCay for carrying it through to publication. Blessings to Issa Boullata, Steven...
Note on Translations and Transliterations
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1. An Introduction: Perennial Tensions
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Unlike Rabindranath Tagore, Derek Walcott, Aimee Cesaire, and Leopold Senghor, poets whose colonized nations gained independence in the second half of the twentieth century, Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish had no such fortune to...
2. The Poet and the National Literature
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Darwish was born on March 13, 1942, in the Palestinian village of Birwa, while it was still under British mandate. When he was six years old, the Israeli army occupied and then destroyed Birwa and over 400 other Palestinian villages. Darwish’s family fl ed to Lebanon in 1948, then crossed the border...
3. Poet under Occupation, 1964-1971
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The underlying facts of Darwish’s life as a young man, such as the marginalized and oppressed status of his community, the state of linguistic and cultural siege under which they lived, the intertwining of poetry and politics, and his familiarity...
4. Poet of National Liberation, 1971-1986
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Referring to “A Soldier Dreams of White Lilies” in a 1969 interview with an Israeli magazine, Darwish says “I wish to express pride in my own humanity in that I am the first Arab poet to portray an Israeli soldier, even after the June ’67 War...
5. To Survive in the World
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Having worked within the framework of adab al-iltizam (committed literature), but with rising misgivings about “a poetry that ignites revolution” (Darwish 1979, 184) Darwish faced a new chapter in the Palestinian saga and a new challenge...
6. Who Am I without Exile?
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In the summer of 2000, I visited the city of Ramallah to run a creative-writing workshop for young writers at the Khalil Sakakini Center. This center happened to house Darwish’s offi ce where he edited the journal Al-Karmal. I had very few...
7. Parting Words
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The beginning of the second intifada in 2000, combined with the collapse of the peace process, especially the return of full Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the sieges imposed on the major Palestinian cities, brought a new era of...
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Mahmoud Darwish is the last of the twentieth century’s world-famous poets, beginning with Tagore and moving on to Hikmet, Pablo Neruda, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, and Nizar Qabbani—poets who drew both popular acclaim and critical attention across...
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About the Author, Back Cover
Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2014