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A Time Between Ashes and Roses


Translated from the Arabic by Shawkat M. Toorawa
Foreword by Nasser Rabbat

Paper $19.95    |    0-8156-0828-4    |   2004

Adonis Favored to Win the Nobel Prize in Literature
Syrian poet, Adonis (Ali Ahmad-Said), is a strong favorite for the 2005 Nobel Prize for literature. The Swedish Academy is likely to announce the prize on October 13. The author of numerous books of poetry and criticism, Adonis is considered to be among the most important modern Arab poets. The current political climate brings heightened interest to literature of the Middle East and long-overdue attention to a poet whose provocative content and arresting style have played a leading role in revolutionizing Arabic literature. Shawkat M. Toorawa provides the first complete translation—in a bilingual edition of the Arabic and English on facing pages—of his signature work, A Time Between Ashes and Roses, encouraging a greater audience to this powerful voice.

  A Time Between Ashes and Roses

  Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said) has written poetry, criticism, translations, and anthologies for fifty years. He has won numerous international poetry awards and was a finalist for the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Shawkat M. Toorawa is professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. He is coauthor of Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition and author of the forthcoming Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur and Arabic Writerly Culture.

5 1/2 x 7 1/2, 224 pages, bibliography, glossary, appendixes Bilingual Edition

Guardian Article:
Adonis becomes first Arab writer to win Goethe prize
Syrian-born Nobel favourite takes prestigious German award

The Syrian poet Adonis has become the first Arab writer to win Germany’s prestigious Goethe prize.

The 81-year-old poet, a perennial favourite to win the Nobel prize for literature, was presented with the award by the city of Frankfurt on Goethe’s birthday, 28 August. The jury called him "the most important Arab poet of our time," and praised his "eminent literary talent, his cosmopolitanism and his contribution to world literature."

The €50,000 Goethe prize is given every three years on Goethe’s birthday to an individual whose work reflects the spirit of the German master, and has been won in the past by Sigmund Freud and Herman Hesse, and more recently by the Israeli author Amos Oz.

"Just as Goethe popularised Arabic poetry with [his book] West-Eastern Divan, Adonis carried the accomplishments of European modernity into Arabic cultural circles, with great effect," said the jury.

Born in Syria as Ali Ahmad Said Esber, Adonis adopted his pen name – after the Greek god of fertility – in his late teens. Imprisoned for his political activities, he moved to Beirut in 1956 and now lives in exile in Paris. He is the author of more than 20 books in Arabic, and is known for his experimental writing, breaking away from the formal structures of traditional Arabic poetry.

"I wanted to draw on Arab tradition and mythology without being tied to it," he told the New York Times last year. "I wanted to break the linearity of poetic text – to mess with it, if you will. The poem is meant to be a network rather than a single rope of thought."

Already the recipient of the Bjørnson Prize in 2007, the first International Nâzim Hikmet Poetry award and the Syria-Lebanon Best Poet award, Adonis has been given odds of 10/1 to win this year’s Nobel, behind Cormac McCarthy and Haruki Murakami.

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