Journal of an Ordinary Grief
"Darwish is to be read with urgency, in the night, when nothing else moves but his lines."
-The Village Voice
"Every beautiful poem is an act of resistance," asserts Darwish. Both voice of the Palestinian people and one of the most transcendent poets of his generation, Mahmoud Darwish also wrote several remarkable volumes of autobiographical essays over the course of his life. First published in Beirut in 1973, these probing essays ask vital questions about the existentially complex realities the Palestinians in Israel face and the ambiguity of Darwish's own identity as an Israeli Palestinian. Theycall upon myth, memory, and language to delve into the poet's experience of house arrest, his encounters with Israeli interrogators, and the periods he spent in prison. Meditative, lyrical, rhythmic, Darwish gives absence a vital presence in these linked essays. Journal is a moving and intimate account of the loss of homeland and, for many, of life inside the porous walls of occupationno ordinary grief.
Mahmoud Darwish (19412008) was one of the most acclaimed poets in the Arab world. His twenty books of poetry include Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? A River Dies of Thirst, Mural, The Bed of the Stranger, and In the Presence of Absence (forthcoming from Archipelago Books). In 2001 Darwish was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize.
About this 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.
Since the appearance of Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales in 1989, Ibrahim Muhawi has devoted himself to the study and translation of Palestinian and Arabic folklore and literature. He is co-editor of Literature and Nation in the Middle East and translator of Darwish's Memory for Forgetfulness and Zakaria Tamer's Breaking Knees. He is currently working on a book on Mahmoud Darwish.