Adonis on Migration and Loss

By Susan Harris

The many marvelous poets in our new anthology, Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, include the dazzling Adonis. The  most important poet writing in Arabic today and a perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize, Adonis--critic, translator, and anthologist--is a crucial part of Arabic literary history.  The writers in the anthology share the common experience of colonial domination and the resulting disrupted histories and savaged lands; this sense of being foreign, of being "other," informs much of Adonis's work. See his sorrowful "The Other Body/The Other Home," from our issue of October 2003: "In migration you forget as if you are remembering and you remember as if you are forgetting. . . . I cannot presume that 'return' itself would ever fully appreciate the damages. I shall declare my life a home for my flight, and migration a home for my life."

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