For other uses, see Adonis (disambiguation).

Born Ali Ahmad Said Esber
(1930-01-01) 1 January 1930
Al Qassabin, Latakia, French Syria
Pen name Adonis
Occupation Poet, Writer, literary critic and editor
Language Arabic
Nationality Syrian
Period Second half of the 20th century
Genre Essay, Poem
Literary movement Arabic literature, Modernism
Notable works The Songs of Mihyar the Damascene, The Static and the Dynamic
Notable awards Bjørnson Prize
Goethe Prize
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Adonis (writer).

Ali Ahmad Said Esber (Arabic: علي أحمد سعيد إسبر, romanised: ʿAlī Aḥmad Saʿīd Aṣbar, born 1 January 1930), also known by the pen name Adonis or Adunis (Arabic: أدونيس, Adūnīs), is a Syrian poet, essayist and translator who is considered one of the most influential and dominant Arab poets of the modern era.[1] He led a modernist revolution in the second half of the 20th century, exerting a seismic influence on Arabic poetry comparable to T.S. Eliot's in the anglophone world.[2]

Adonis’s publications include twenty volumes of poetry and thirteen of criticism. His dozen books of translation to Arabic include the poetry of Saint-John Perse and Yves Bonnefoy, and the first complete Arabic translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (2002). His multi-volume anthology of Arabic poetry (Dīwān ash-shi‘r al-‘arabī), covering almost two millennia of verse, has been in print since its publication in 1964.

Islamic authorities and scholars have opposed Adonis for his criticism of Islam. Some, such as Egyptian Salafi Mohamad Said Raslan[3] and some faction of the Syrian opposition[4] issued death threats against him, and some called for his books to be burned. In spite of this opposition, Adonis is a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature,[5][6] Adonis has been described as the greatest living poet of the Arab world.[7]


Early life and education

Born to a modest Alawite farming family[8] in January 1930, Adonis hails from the village of al-Qassabin near the city of Latakia in western Syria. He was unable to afford formal schooling for most of his childhood, and his early education consisted of learning the Quran in the local kuttab (mosque-affiliated school) and memorizing classical Arabic poetry, to which his father had introduced him.

In 1944, despite the animosity of the village chief and his father’s reluctance, the young poet managed to recite one of his poems before Shukri al-Quwatli, the president of the newly-established Republic of Syria, who was on a visit to al-Qassabin. After admiring the boy’s verses, al-Quwatli asked him if there were anything he needed help with. ‘‘I want to go to school,’’ responded the young poet, and his wish was soon fulfilled in the form of a scholarship to the French lycée at Tartus. The school, the last french Lycée school in Syria at the time, was closed in 1945, and Adonis was transferred to other national schools before graduating in 1949. He was a good student, and managed to secure a government scholarship. In 1950 Adonis published his first collection of verse, Dalila, as he joined the Syrian University (now Damascus University) to study law and philosophy, graduating in 1954 with a BA in philosophy.[9] He later earned a doctoral degree in Arabic literature in 1973 from Saint Joseph University.

While serving in the military in 1955–56, Adonis was imprisoned for his membership in the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (following the assassination of Adnan al-Malki), Led by Antoun Saadeh, the SSNP had opposed European colonization of Greater Syria and its partition into smaller nations. The party advocated a secular, national (not strictly Arab) approach toward transforming Greater Syria into a progressive society governed by consensus and providing equal rights to all, regardless of ethnicity or sect.


The name Adonis (pronounced ah-doh-NEES), was picked up by Adonis himself at age 17, after being rejected by a number of magazines under his real name, to "alert napping editors to his precocious talent and his pre-Islamic, pan-Mediterranean muses".[2]

Personal life

Adunis is married to literary critic Khalida Said (née Saleh) in 1956,[10] who assisted in editing roles in both Shi'r and Mawaqif. They have two daughters: Arwad, who is director of the House of World Cultures in Paris; and Ninar, an artist who moves between Paris and Beirut. Adunis currently lives in Paris, France, since 1975.


In 1956, Adonis fled Syria for Beirut, Lebanon. He joined a vibrant community of artists, writers, and exiles, Adunis settled abroad and has made his career largely in Lebanon and France, where in 1957 he founded the magazine Majallat Shi'r ("Poetry Magazine") that met with strong criticism as they published experimental poetry, and was arguably the most influential Arab literary journal ever[11] Majallat Shi’r ceased publication in 1964, and Adunis did not rejoin the Shi’r editors when they resumed publication in 1967. In Lebanon, his intense nationalistic feelings, reflecting pan-Arabism focused on the Arab peoples as a nation, found their outlet in the Beiruti newspaper Lisan al-Hal and eventually in his founding of another literary periodical in 1968 titled Mawaqif, in which he again published experimental poetry.[12]

Adunis's poems continued to express his nationalistic views combined with his mystical outlook. With his use of Sufi terms (the technical meanings of which were implied rather than explicit), Adunis became a leading exponent of the Neo-Sufi trend in modern Arabic poetry. This trend took hold in the 1970s.[13]

Adunis received a scholarship to study in Paris from 1960–61. From 1970-85 he was professor of Arabic literature at the Lebanese University. In 1976, he was a visiting professor at the University of Damascus. In 1980, he emigrated to Paris to escape the Lebanese Civil War. In 1980–81, he was professor of Arabic in Paris. From 1970 to 1985 he taught Arabic literature at the Lebanese University; he also has taught at the University of Damascus, Sorbonne (Paris III), and, in the United States, at Georgetown and Princeton universities. In 1985 he moved with his wife and two daughters to Paris, which has remained their primary residence.

While temporally in Syria Adonis helped in editing the cultural supplement of the newspaper Al-Thawra but pro government writers clashed with his agenda and forced him to flee the country.[14]

Majallat Shi‘r – Poetry Magazine

Adunis joined ranks with Syro-Lebanese poet Yusuf al-Khal in editing Shi‘r a modernism movement Arabic Poetry magazine, which Al-khal established in 1957, his name appeared as editor in the magazine 4th edition, by 1962 the magazine appeared with both Adunis and Al-Khal names side by side as "Owners and Editors in Chief",[15] While at Shi‘r, Adonis played an important role in the evolution of free verse in Arabic. Adonis and al-Khal asserted that modern verse needed to go beyond the experimentation of al-shi‘r al-hadith (modern, or free, verse), which had appeared nearly two decades earlier. The Shi‘r school advocated a poetry that did away with traditional expressions of sentiment and abandoned metrical or formal restrictions. It advocated a renewal of language through a greater acceptance of contemporary spoken Arabic, seeing it as a way to free Arabic poetry from its attachment to classical diction and the archaic subject matter that such language seemed to dictate.

Also responding to a growing mandate that poetry and literature be committed to the immediate political needs of the Arab nation and the masses, Adonis and Shi‘r energetically opposed the recruitment of poets and writers into propagandist efforts. In rejecting Adab al-iltizam (politically committed literature), Adonis was opposing the suppression of the individual’s imagination and voice for the needs of the group. Poetry, he argued, must remain a realm in which language and ideas are examined, reshaped, and refined, in which the poet refuses to descend to the level of daily expediencies. Emerging as one of the most eloquent practitioners and defenders of this approach, Adonis wrote that the poet is a ‘‘metaphysical being who penetrates to the depths’’ and, in so doing, ‘‘keeps solidarity with others.’’ Poetry’s function is to convey eternal human anxieties. It is the exploration of an individual’s metaphysical sensitivity, not a collective political or socially oriented vision.

"Shi‘r" was published for ten years and was arguably the most influential Arab literary journal ever,[16] it was recognized as the main platform and prime mover for the modernism movement in Arabic literature, it featured and helped bring to light poets such as Ounsi el-Hajj, Saadi Yousef and many others.[17]


Adonis later went on to start another poetry magazine, titled Mawaqif (English translation: Positions), the magazine was first published in 1968, considered a significant literary and cultural quarterly. Adonis wanted in Mawqaif to enlarge the focus of Shi‘r by addressing the politics and the illusions of the Arab nations after their defeat in the Six-Day War, believing that literature by itself cannot achieve the renewal of society and that it should be related to a more comprehensive revolutionary movement of renovation on all levels.

a number of prominent literary figures later joined and contributed to Mawaqif including: Elias Khoury, Hisham Sharabi and Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish between others.

Due to its revolutionary nature and free-thinking outlook, Mawaqif had to overcome a certain number of problems, including censorship by governments less open than Lebanon’s, financial difficulties that its independent nature entailed, and the problems that came in the wake of the Lebanese War. However, in spite of these difficulties, it continued to be in print until 1994.[18]


Adonis also founded and edited the 'Another' magazine, dedicated to publishing original content as well as numerous literary translations of contemporary essays on philosophy and Arabism.[19] The magazine published myriad essays on contemporary Arab thought and interrogated the relationship between political and religious thought. It expressed concern with structural impediments to the spreading of progress and freedom in the Arab world, and included writers such as Ahmed Barqawi and Mustafa Safwan. The magazine was published in Beirut from 2011- 2013.

The magazine contained essays and was published by the Syrian publisher and philanthropist Hares Youssef.[20]


The Songs of Mihyar the Damascene

In the City of the Partisans

More than an olive tree, more
than a river, more than
a breeze
bounding and rebounding, more than an island, more than a forest,
a cloud
that skims across his leisurely path
all and more
in their solitude
are reading his book.

Adonis, 1961[21]

Published in 1961, this is Adonis third book of poetry, The Songs of Mihyar of Damascus (or the Damascene in different translation) marked a definitive disruption of existing poetics and a new direction in poetic language. In a sequence of 141 mostly short lyrics arranged in seven sections (the first six sections begin with ‘psalms’ and the final section is a series of seven short elegies) the poet transposes an icon of the early eleventh century, Mihyar of Daylam (in Iran), to contemporary Damascus in a series, or vortex, of non-narrative ‘fragments’ that place character deep "in the machinery of language", and he wrenches lyric free of the ‘I’ while leaving individual choice intact. The whole book has been translated by Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard as Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs (BOA Editions, NY 2008)

Some of the poems included in this collection:

And other poems.

the collection been claimed to have "reshaped the possibilities of Arabic lyric poetry".[22]

A Time Between Ashes and Roses

A Time Between Ashes and Roses

A child stammers, the face of Jaffa is a child / How can withered trees blossom ?
A time between ashes and roses is coming
When everything shall be extinguished
When everything shall begin

Adonis, 1972[23]

In 1970 Adonis published A Time Between Ashes and Roses as a volume consisting of two long poems ‘An Introduction to the History of the Petty Kings’ and ‘This Is My Name’ and in the 1972 edition augmented them with ‘A Grave For New York.’ These three astonishing poems, written out of the crises in Arabic society and culture following the disastrous 1967 Six-Day War and as a stunning decrepitude against intellectual aridity, opened out a new path for contemporary poetry. The whole book, in its augmented 1972 edition has a complete English translation by Shawkat M. Toorawa as A Time Between Ashes and Roses (Syracuse University Press 2004).

This Is My Name

Written in 1969 the poem was first published in 1970 with only two long poems, then reissued two years later with an additional poem, (‘‘A Grave for New York.’’), In A Time Between Ashes and Roses collection of poems.

In the poem , Adonis, spurred by the Arabs’ shock and bewilderment after the Six-Day War, renders a claustrophobic yet seemingly infinite apocalypse. Adonis is hard at work undermining the social discourse that has turned catastrophe into a firmer bond with dogma and cynical defeatism throughout the Arab world. To mark this ubiquitous malaise, the poet attempts to find a language that matches it, and he fashions a vocal arrangement that swerves and beguiles.

The poem was the subject of wide study in the Arab literary community due to its mysterious rhythmic regime and its influence on the poetry movement in the 60's and 70's after its publication.,[24][25][26]

A Grave for New York ~ Tombeau pour New York

Also translated "The Funeral of New York", this poem was written after a trip to New York in 1971 during which Adonis participated in an international Poetry Forum, the poem was published by Actes Sud in 1986, nearly two decades before it appeared in English. the poem depicts the desolation of New York City as emblematic of empire, described as a violently anti-American,[27] in the poem Walt Whitman the known American poet, as the champion of democracy, is taken to task, particularly in Section 9, which addresses Whitman directly.[28]

A Grave for New York

Picture the earth as a pear
or breast.
Between such fruits and death
survives an engineering trick:
New York,
Call it a city on four legs
heading for murder
while the drowned already moan
in the distance.

Adonis, 1971[29]

Written in spring 1971, . Adonis wrote the poem after a visit to the United States, . Unlike his poem "The Desert", where Adonis presented the pain of war and siege without naming and anchoring the context, in this poem he refers explicitly to a multitude of historical figures and geographical locations. He pits poets against politicians, the righteous against the exploitative. The English translation of this long poem from Arabic skips some short passages of the original (indicated by ellipses), but the overall effect remains intact. The poem is made up of 10 sections, each denouncing New York City in a different way. It opens by presenting the beastly nature of the city and by satirizing the Statue of Liberty.

A Grave for New York is an obvious example of Adonis’s larger project of reversing the Orientalist paradigm to re-claim what he terms ‘eastern’ values as positive.[30]

Al-Kitab (The Book)

Arabic for The Book, Adonis worked on this book from 1995–2003, a three-volume epic that adds up to almost two thousand pages. In Al-Kitab, the poet travels on land and through the history and politics of Arab societies, beginning immediately after the death of the prophet Muhammad and progressing through the ninth century, which he considers the most significant period of Arab history, an epoch to which he repeatedly alludes. Al-Kitab provides a large lyric-mural rather than an epic that attempts to render the political, cultural, and religious complexity of almost fifteen centuries of Arab civilization. The form that Adonis opted to use for Al-Kitab was inspired by cinema, where the reader/viewer can watch the screen, and where ‘‘you see past and present, and you watch a scene and listen to music.’’ The poet’s guide on this land journey is Al-Mutanabbi (915–965 a.d.), the great poet who was as engaged in the machination of power as he was in being the best poet of his age.

The book was translated to French by Houria Abdelouahed and published in 2013[31]

Selected Poems by Adonis

translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa and described as "a genuine overview of the span of Adonis’s",[32] the book is the inclusion of a number of poems of between five and fifteen or so pages in length.

The Book included selected poems from the following poem collections:

Book awards

In 2011 Khaled Mattawa, translation of Adonis: Selected Poems by Adonis ISBN 9780300153064 was Selected as a finalist for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize sponsored by the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry[33]

In the same year (2011) translation of the book (Selected Poems by Adonis) won the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in which the Judges deemed it "Destined to become a classic"[34] Khaled Mattawa was also the winner of the 2011 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation given by PEN American Center for the same book.

Literary Criticism and Modernism Movement

Adunis, is often portrayed as entirely dismissive of the intellectual heritage of Arabic culture.[35] Yet in al-Thābit wa-l-Mutaḥawwil (The Immutable and the Transformative), his emphasis on the plurality of Arabic heritage posits the richness of Arabic Islamic heritage and the deficiency of tradition as defined by imitation (taqlīd). He views culture as dynamic rather than immutable and transcendent, challenging the traditionalist homogenizing tendency within heritage.

In studying the Arabic cultural system, Adunis emphasizes that the concept of heritage construed as a unified repertoire based on a consistent cultural essence preconditions the rupture between this heritage and modernity.

Adonis’s critique of Arab culture did not merely call for the adoption of Western values, paradigms, and lifestyles per Science, which has evolved greatly in Western societies, with its ‘‘intuitions and practical results,’’ should be acknowledged as the ‘‘most revolutionary development in the history of mankind,’’ argues Adonis. The truths that science offers ‘‘are not like those of philosophy or of the arts. They are truths which everyone must of necessity accept, because they are proven in theory and practice.’’ But science is guided by dynamics that make it insufficient as an instrument for human fulfillment and meaning: science’s reliance on transcending the past to achieve greater progress is not applicable to all facets of human activity. ‘‘What does progress mean in poetry?’’ asks Adonis. ‘‘Nothing.’’ Progress in the scientific sense pursues the apprehension of phenomenon, seeking uniformity, predictability, and repeatability. As such, the idea of progress in science is ‘‘quite separate from artistic achievement.’’ Poetry and the other arts seek a kind of progress that affirms difference, elation, movement, and variety in life.

The Static and the Dynamic الثابت والمتحول

The Static and the Dynamic

What we must criticize firstly is how we define heritage itself.
In addition to the vagueness of the concept, prevalent conformist thought defines
heritage as an essence or an origin to all subsequent cultural productions.
In my opinion, we must view heritage from the prism of cultural and
social struggles that formed the Arabs' history and, when we do, it
becomes erroneous to state that there is one Arabic heritage. Rather, there
is a specific cultural product related to a specific order in a specific period
of history. What we call heritage is nothing but a myriad of cultural and
historical products that are at times even antithetical


First published in 1973 till 1978 (still in print in Arabic, now in 8th edition) by Dar al-Saqi ISBN 978-1855168015, the book is a four-volume study described in the under title as "a study of creativity and adheration in Arabs), Adonis started original writings on the project as a PhD dissertation while in Saint Joseph University, in this study, still the subject of intellectual and literature controversy,[37] Adonis offers his analysis of Arabic literature, he theorizes that two main streams have operated within Arabic poetry, a conservative one and an innovative one. The history of Arabic poetry, he argues, has been that of the conservative vision of literature and society (al-thabit), quelling poetic experimentation and philosophical and religious ideas (al-mutahawil). Al-thabit, or static current, manifests itself in the triumph of naql (conveyance) over ‘aql (original, independent thought); in the attempt to make literature a servant of religion; and in the reverence accorded to the past whereby language and poetics were essentially Quranic in their source and therefore not subject to change.

Adunis devoted much attention to the question of "the modern" in Arabic literature and society,[38] he surveyed the entire Arabic literary tradition and concludes that, like the literary works themselves, attitudes to and analyses of them must be subject to a continuing process of reevaluation. Yet what he actually sees occurring within the critical domain is mostly static and unmoving. The second concern, that of particularity (khuṣūṣiyyah), is a telling reflection of the realization among writers and critics throughout the Arabic-speaking world that the region they inhabited was both vast and variegated (with Europe to the north and west as a living example). Debate over this issue, while acknowledging notions of some sense of Arab unity, revealed the need for each nation and region to investigate the cultural demands of the present in more local and particular terms. A deeper knowledge of the relationship between the local present and its own unique version of the past promises to furnish a sense of identity and particularity that, when combined with similar entities from other Arabic-speaking regions, will illustrate the immensely rich and diverse tradition of which 21st-century litterateurs are the heirs.

An Introduction to Arab Poetics

First published in January 1991 (ISBN 9780863563317), in this book, Adonis examines the oral tradition of the pre-Islamic poetry of Arabia and the relationship between Arabic poetry and the Quran, and between poetry and thought. He also assesses the challenges of modernism and the impact of western culture on the Arab poetic tradition.


Adunis started making images using calligraphy, color and figurative gestures around the year 2002,[39] in 2012 A major tribute to Adunis, including an exhibition of his drawings and a series of literary events was organized in The Mosaic Rooms in West London.[40]

His works emanate with visual planes bursting with original handwritten poetry that recalls classical Arabic literature from various eras and civilizations. The great masters of the Arabic language Al-Ma’arri, Abu Tammam, and Waddah al-Yaman, all of whom are linked by their rebellious spirit, their penchant for refusal, and their compulsion for change, are revived in Adunis's words.

His exploration of writing, however, is executed through calligraphic forms that are treated pictorially such that they are abstracted; his letters are turned into ambiguous signs that could belong to any of a number of languages. Whether these marks, these writings, are legible or incomprehensible, they elucidate Adunis’s desire to break free of the rules of language, to find his own sensory means of communication through fine art. Adunis’s collages that combine layers of relief set up a space in contradiction with the smoothness of the written text that fills them; the two complete each other, though, in spite of their contrary appearance.

On 19 May 2014 Salwa Zeidan Gallery in Abu Dhabi, was home to another noted exhibition by Adunis: Muallaqat[41] (in reference to the original pre-Islamic era literary works Mu'allaqat), consisted of 10 calligraphy drawings of big format (150x50cm), where Adunis combines the poetic of text with the poetic of visual language, to create a world of intimate and wonderfully whimsical narratives. These Muallaqat are carrying names of the most influential Arab poets: Umroua Al Kais, Zuhair, Turfa, Hares Bin Halza, Amro Ibn Kultoom, Antara Bin Chaddad, Labeed, Obeid Ibn Al Abrass, Al Aasha and Al Nabegha.

Other Art Exhibitions


Expelled from the Arab Writers' Union

On 27 January 1995, Adonis was expelled from the Arab Writers Union for having met with Israelis at an UNESCO sponsored meeting in Grenada, Spain, in 1993. His expulsion generated bitter debate among writers and artists across the Middle East. Two of Syria's leading writers, Saadallah Wannous and Hanna Mina, resigned from the union in solidarity with Adonis.[42]

Death Threats

A known critic of Islamic religious values and traditions, who describes himself as a non-religious person,[43] Adonis have previously received a number of death threats via Fatwa by known Egyptian Salafi sheikh Mohamad Said Raslan who accused him of leaving his Muslim name (Ali) and taking a pagan name, in a circulated Video[3][44] he accused him of as well as being a worrier against Islam and demanded his books to be banned describing him as a thing and an Infidel.

In May 2012, a statement issued on one of the Syrian opposition’s Facebook pages, supporters of the Syrian opposition argued that the literary icon deserved to die on three counts. First, he is Alawite. Second he is also opposed to the Muslim religion. Third, he criticizes the opposition and rejects foreign military intervention in Syria.[4][45]

In May 2012, a group of Lebanese and Syrian intellectuals issued an online condemnation in the wake of the call.,[4] Among those speaking out has been Syrian film director Eva Dawood.

The prophet of every age is always crucified at the hands of ignorance and backwardness," Dawood wrote (in Arabic) on her Facebook page. "History has never witnessed a philosopher killing a man of God, but to this day intellectuals are being threatened and killed by people who have become religious. History will mention [Adonis’] name as an important figure in Syria. Where and how will you be remembered?

Call for Book Burning

In 2013, Islamic scholar Abdelfetah Zeraoui Hamadache called for Adonis books to be burned[46][47] following a poem allegedly attributed to him, this came after the Salafi leader listened to the poem on social networks, he then issued a fatwa calling for burning Adonis’ books in Algeria and in the Arab World.[48]

The poem was later proven as counterfeit (the poem is very weak in linguistic structure and differ greatly from Adonis literary style) Adonis commented[49]I am sorry that I am discussing a counterfeiting at this level. I hope that the source of the so-called poem is published. This is a shame for an Islamic scholar, the Arabic language and the entire Arab poem heritage,

He added: I am not sad about burning my books because this is an old phenomenon in our history. We are fighting to found a dialogue and a debate in a peaceful way. Founding differences in opinions is a wealth source. This counterfeiting humiliates Arabic,[50]

Arab Spring

On 14 June 2011, amid the bloody crackdown on the Syrian uprising, Adonis wrote an open letter[51] to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir- "as a citizen" he stresses. Describing Syria as a brutal police state, he attacked the ruling Ba'ath Party, called on the president to step down, and warned that "you cannot imprison an entire nation". He was nonetheless taken to task for addressing a tyrant as an elected president, and criticising the "violent tendencies" of some of his opponents. "That's why I said I'm not like the revolutionaries" he says. "I'm with them, but I don't speak the same language. They're like school teachers telling you how to speak, and to repeat the same words. Whereas I left Syria in 1956 and I've been in conflict with it for more than 50 years. I've never met either Assad [Bashar or his father, Hafez]. I was among the first to criticise the Ba'ath Party, because I'm against an ideology based on a singleness of ideas".

Adonis said on the subject: What's really absurd is that the Arab opposition to dictators refuses any critique; it's a vicious circle. So someone who is against despotism in all its forms can't be either with the regime or with those who call themselves its opponents. The opposition is a regime avant la lettre." He adds: "In our tradition, unfortunately, everything is based on unity – the oneness of God, of politics, of the people. We can't ever arrive at democracy with this mentality, because democracy is based on understanding the other as different. You can't think you hold the truth, and that nobody else has it.

In August 2011, Adunis called in an interview in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down because of his role in the Syrian civil war.[52] He has also called upon the opposition to shun violence and engage in dialogue with the regime.[53]

Nobel prize nomination

A perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature,he has been regularly nominated for the award since 1988.[5]

After winning Germany's major award the Goethe prize in 2011, Adonis emerged as the front runner to be crowned Nobel Prize in Literature,[54] instead the prize was awarded to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Peter Englund said it was not awarded based on politics, describing such a notion as "literature for dummies".[55]

Adunis has helped to spread Tomas Tranströmer fame in the Arab world, accompanying him on readings.,[56] he also wrote the introduction to the first translation of Transtromer complete Works into Arabic (published by Bedayat publishing house, translated by the Iraqi Kassem Hamady), he stated that: "Transtromer tries to present his human state in poetry, with poetry as the art revealing the situation. While his roots are deep into the land of poetry, with its classical, symbolic and rhythmic aspects, yet he cannot be classified as belonging to one school; he’s one and many, allowing us to observe through his poetry the seen and unseen in one mix creating his poetry, as if its essence is that of the flower of the world."[56]

Legacy and Influence

Adonis' poetry and criticism have been credited with "far-reaching influence on the development of Arab poetry," including the creation of "a new poetic language and rhythms, deeply rooted in classical poetry but employed to convey the predicament and responses of contemporary Arab society."[57] According to Mirene Ghossein, "one of the main contributions of Adonis to contemporary Arabic poetry is liberty-a liberty with themes, a liberty with words themselves through the uniqueness of poetic vision."[58]

Adonis is a pioneer of modern Arabic poetry. He is often seen as a rebel, an iconoclast who follows his own rules. "Arabic poetry is not the monolith this dominant critical view suggests, but is pluralistic, sometimes to the point of self-contradiction."[59] Adonis's work has been analysed and illuminated by the pre-eminent Arab critic Kamal Abu-Deeb, with whom he edited the journal Mawākif in Beirut in the 1970s.

Adonis is considered to have played a role in Arab modernism comparable to T. S. Eliot's in English-language poetry.[60] The literary and cultural critic Edward Said, professor at Columbia University, called him "today's most daring and provocative Arab poet." The poet Samuel John Hazo, who translated Adonis's collection The Pages of Day and Night, said, "There is Arabic poetry before Adonis, and there is Arabic poetry after Adonis."

In 2007, Arabian Business named Adonis No. 26 in its 100 most powerful Arabs 2007[61] stating "Both as a poet and a theorist on poetry, and as a thinker with a radical vision of Arab culture, Adonis has exercised a powerful influence both on his contemporaries and on younger generations of Arab poets. His name has become synonymous with the Hadatha (modernism) which his poetry embodies. Critical works such as Zamān al-shi'r (1972) are landmarks in the history of literary criticism in the Arab world."

Awards and honours

Bibliography : List of works

Available in English
Translations of Adonis available in French
Translations of Adonis available in Spanish
Critical studies and appreciations in French
Poetry (In Arabic)
From French into Arabic
From Arabic into French

Studies and essays about Adonis (including as a topic)


  1. "Jadaliyya – Adunis, Mistranslated".
  2. 1 2 Jaggi, Maya (27 January 2012). "Adonis: a life in writing". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 27 January 2012. ...He led a modernist revolution in the second half of the 20th century, exerting a seismic influence on Arabic poetry comparable to TS Eliot's in the anglophone world...
  3. 1 2 "الشيخ رسلان: هم العدو فاحذرهم".
  4. 1 2 3 "Intellectuals blast Syrian opposition calls for Adonis' death".
  5. 1 2 McGrath, Charles (17 October 2010). "A Revolutionary of Arabic Verse". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2010. Every year around this time the name of the Syrian poet Adonis pops up in newspapers and in betting shops. Adonis (pronounced ah-doh-NEES), a pseudonym adopted by Ali Ahmad Said Esber in his teens as an attention getter, is a perennial favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature... as is the case with so many recent winners, most Americans have never heard of him.
  6. Pickering, Diego Gómez (11 November 2010). "Adonis speaks to Forward: The living legend of Arab poetry". Forward. Retrieved 11 November 2010. Last month, Adonis was robbed again of a Nobel Prize, after first being nominated in 1988.
  7. Jaggi, Maya (27 January 2012). "Adonis: a life in writing". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 27 January 2012. ...each autumn is credibly tipped for the Nobel in literature...
  8. "Adonis". Lexicorient. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  9. "BA in philosophy, Damascus University, 1954".
  10. "Adonis: a life in writing".
  11. Moreh, Shmuel. Modern Arabic Poetry 1800–1970: The Development of its Forms and Themes under the Influence of Western Literature. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1976: 278–280; 285; 288.
  12. Snir, Reuven. "Mysticism and Poetry in Arabic Literature". Orientalia Suecana XLIII-XLIV (1994–5) 165–175. V. Sufi Terms in the Service of Social Values, 171-3.
  13. Butt, Aviva. "Adunis, Mysticism and the Neo-Sufi Trend." Poets from a War Torn World. SBPRA, 2012: pp. 2–7.
  14. "but pro government writers clashed with his agenda and forced him to flee the country".
  15. Ibrahim, Youssef M. "Translation from Arabic to the line وبدءاً من شتاء 1962، العدد 21، صار اسمانا يوسف الخال وأنا يظهران مقترنين على هذا النحو: "صاحبا المجلة ورئيسا تحريرها: يوسف الخال وأدونيس"".
  16. "Selected Poems by Adonis- Introduction" (PDF).
  17. "Translation from Arabic: Poetry Magazine and the lessons of modernism – مجلة "شعر" ودرس الحداثة".
  18. Ahmad Sa‘id to Adonis: A Study of Adonis’s Controversial Position on Arab Cultural Heritage "A Study of Adonis's Controversial Position on Arab Cultural Heritage".
  19. "أدونيس... عينه على "الآخر": في زمن التحوّلات والأسئلة المعلّقة". الأخبار. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  20. "حوار في فلسفة الاقتصاد ورؤى جديدة للمستقبل مع رجل يهزأ بالأنماط القائمة ويقول (الاقتصاد هو علم كيف لا يجب أن نعيش!!) الحارث يوسف: إذا لم يخلق الإنسان منظومة مالية جديدة و سليمة الأخلاق فلن يجد مخرجا من تخبطّه في أمواج بحر مصالحه الهائج...". Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  21. Mihyar of Damascus, his Songs:translated from the Arabic by Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard, 2007
  22. "(Mihyar of Damascus, his Songs), a 1961 collection which famously reshaped the possibilities of Arabic lyric poetry". guernicamag. December 2, 2007.
  23. A Time Between Ashes and Roses
  24. (أدونيس.. اسمه لغم الحضارة – Translation from Arabic: Adunis .. his name is a culture mine". May 27, 2010.
  25. (عيسى يعاين حالات عروضية في كتاب أدونيس – Translation from Arabic: Aeesa examines rhythms conditions in Adonis book". January, 05, 2015.
  26. ( إستحلاب النص و تعدد القراءة في الشعر الأدونيسي قصيدة "هذا هو إسمي" نموذجا – Translation from Arabic: working the text and diversity of reading in the Adunisian poetry: poem "This is my name" as a model". "Université IBN Khaldoun Tiaret", "Prof. Turky Amouhamad"
  27. "The Funeral of New York is a violently anti-American long poem".
  28. "Whitman and Lebanon 's Adonis- Roger Asselineau – Ed Folsom".
  29. Translation from french text: Tombeau pour New York published by Actes Sud in 1986
  30. Michelle Hartman: A Grave for New York and New York 80: Formulating an Arab Identity through the Lens of New York, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  32. "Stephen Watts reviews – Adonis: Selected Poems".
  33. "Griffin Poetry Prize – International Short List".
  34. "Griffin Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation".
  35. "Arabic Islamic Culture and the Challenge of Modernity: Adunis' Critique of Traditionalist Thought, Mohamed Wajdi Ben Hammed, University of Notre Dame" (PDF).
  36. Ali Ahmed Sa'id, The Immutable and the Transformative: A Study in Conformity and Innovation Amongst the Arabs, Vol 3, 228
  37. ar:الثابت والمتحول (كتاب)
  38. "Encyclopedia Britannica- Al-Thābit wa al mutaḥawwil – Work by Adonis".
  39. "Syrian poet Adunis introduces his artworks – gallery – The Guardian Interview 2012".
  40. "A Tribute To Adunis- The mosaic rooms".
  41. "PRESS RELEASE: Salwa Zeidan Gallery to host solo exhibition for the greatest living poet of Arab world" (PDF).
  42. Ibrahim, Youssef M. (7 March 1995). "NYTimes: Arabs Split on Cultural Ties to Israel". The New York Times.
  43. "Adonis: ISIS and Nusra didn't fall from the sky".
  44. "هذا هو الامعة الجاهل ادونيس – العلامة محمد سعيد رسلان".
  45. "translation from Arabic to the tilitle : a Syrian apposition group places Adonis on the "killing list": مجموعة سورية معارضة يضعون أدونيس على قائمة القتل".
  46. Adonis: fatwa calling for burning my books in Algeria is shameful
  47. Les salafistes algériens du Front de la Sahwa en campagne contre "le parti de la France"
  48. "elhayat Article in Arabic titled (translation) "Hamadache judges Adonis as an infidel and calls for burning his books".
  49. In a phone interview with Echorouk Newspaper published in 23-12-2013
  50. Adonis: fatwa calling for burning my books in Algeria is shameful
  51. "Adonis, "Open Letter to President Bashar al-Assad; Man, His Basic Rights and Freedoms, or the Abyss," As-Safir, Beirut, June 14, 2011".
  52. "Prominent Syrian poet Adunis calls on Assad to step down". Monsters and Critics. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  53. "Constitution-building: The long march", The Economist, 13 July 2013.
  54. "Adonis declared Nobel prize for literature favourite". After winning Germany's major award the Goethe prize earlier this year, Syrian poet Adonis has emerged as the frontrunner to be crowned Nobel literature laureate next month.
  55. Kite, Lorien (6 October 2011). "Sweden's 'buzzard' poet wins Nobel Prize". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 October 2011. Before Thursday’s announcement, there had also been much speculation that the committee would choose to honor the Syrian poet Adunis in a gesture towards the Arab spring. Englund dismissed the notion that there was a political dimension to the prize; such an approach, he said, was "literature for dummies".
  56. 1 2 "Adunis: Transtromer is deeply rooted in the land of poetry". Al-Ahram. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  57. Abdullah al-Udhari, trans., Victims of a Map [bilingual selection of poems by Mahmud Darwish, Samih al-Qasim, and Adonis] (London: Al Saqi, 1984), 87.
  58. Mirene Ghossein, "Introduction" in Adonis, The Blood of Adonis, translated from the Arabic by Samuel John Hazo (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1971
  59. An Introduction to Arab Poetics, p. 10
  60. "An Arab Poet Who Dares to Differ".
  61. "100 most powerful Arabs 2007".
  62. "One Fine Art – Curriculum Vitae".
  63. "Adonis, International Writer in Residence".
  64. "The Poetry Foundation – Adonis".
  65. "Republic of turkey ministry of culture and tourism".
  66. "Adonis: a life in writing, The Guardian Interview by Maya Jaggi".
  67. "Nonino Prize Winners".
  68. 1 2 3 Knipp, Kersten (18 February 2016). "Syrian poet Adonis hits back at criticism over German peace prize". Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  69. "Winner Cultural & Scientific Achievments Eighth Circle 2002–2003".
  70. "Freedom of speech prize to Syrian-Lebanese poet Adonis".
  71. "Syrian poet Adonis wins Germany's Goethe prize". Reuters. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  72. "Arizona State University – along with Syrian poet Adonis".
  73. "Janus Pannonius Prize goes to Adonis and Yves Bonnefoy". Hungarian Literature Online. September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  74. "Arab poet Adonis wins Asan award". The Hindu Online. April 7, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  75. "Adonis, the Syrian Crisis, and the Question of Pluralism in the Levant by Franck Salameh, Boston College, Bustan: The Middle East Book Review 2012" (PDF).
  76. "he poetry of Adonis in translation : an analysis".
  77. "Whitman and Lebanon's Adonis".
  78. "Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage, Goethe-Institute".
  79. "Mistranslated".

External links

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Adunis
Articles and interviews
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.