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Unfortunately, It Was Paradise

Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems

Mahmoud Darwish
Munir Akash
Carolyn Forché
Sinan Antoon
Amira El-Zein
With a New Foreword by Fady Joudah
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Unfortunately, It Was Paradise
    Book Description:

    Mahmoud Darwish is a literary rarity: at once critically acclaimed as one of the most important poets in the Arabic language, and beloved as the voice of his people. A legend in Palestine, his lyrics are sung by fieldworkers and schoolchildren. He has assimilated some of the world's oldest literary traditions while simultaneously struggling to open new possibilities for poetry. This collection spans Darwish's entire career, nearly four decades, revealing an impressive range of expression and form. A splendid team of translators has collaborated with the poet on these new translations, which capture Darwish's distinctive voice and spirit. Fady Joudah’s foreword, new to this edition, addresses Darwish’s enduring legacy following his death in 2008.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95460-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Munir Akash
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xx)
    Munir Akash and Carolyn Forché

    Mahmoud Darwish is a literary rarity. Critically acclaimed as one of the most important poets in the Arabic language and beloved as the voice of his people, he is an artist demanding of his work continual transformation and a living legend whose lyrics are sung by fieldworkers and schoolchildren. Few poets have borne such disparately bestowed adulation, nor survived such dramatic vicissitudes of history and fate as Mahmoud Darwish; even fewer have done so while endeavoring to open new possibilities for poetry while assimilating one of the world’s oldest literary traditions. His poetry has been enthusiastically embraced since the publication...

  5. Foreword for 2013
    (pp. xxi-xxviii)
    Fady Joudah

    Without doubtUnfortunately, It Was Paradiseis the first book to effectively introduce Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry into English. Considering that Darwish’s literary magnificence had been recognized the world over for decades prior toParadise’s publication, this is quite an accomplishment within the English language, a breakthrough that should not be overlooked or understated. Circumstance played no small part in the easing of the decades-long negligence of Darwish’s (and Palestinian) art in the English-speaking world in general, and America in particular. The doors opened wider after the Second Intifada erupted in 2000, and were thrust ajar after September 2001. The Lannan...

  6. from Fewer Roses (1986)

  7. from I See What I Want to See (1993)

  8. from Why Have You Left the Horse Alone? (1995)

    • I See My Ghost Coming from Afar
      (pp. 55-57)
    • A Cloud in My Hands
      (pp. 58-60)
    • The Kindhearted Villagers
      (pp. 61-62)
    • The Owl’s Night
      (pp. 63-64)
    • The Everlasting Indian Fig
      (pp. 65-66)
    • The Lute of Ismael
      (pp. 67-70)
    • The Strangers’ Picnic
      (pp. 71-73)
    • The Raven’s Ink
      (pp. 74-76)
    • Like the Letter “N” in the Qur’an
      (pp. 77-78)
    • Ivory Combs
      (pp. 79-81)
    • The Death of the Phoenix
      (pp. 82-84)
    • Poetic Regulations
      (pp. 85-86)
    • Excerpts from the Byzantine Odes of Abu Firas
      (pp. 87-88)
    • The Dreamers Pass from One Sky to Another
      (pp. 89-90)
    • A Rhyme for the Odes (Mu‘allaqat)
      (pp. 91-93)
    • Night That Overflows My Body
      (pp. 94-95)
    • The Gypsy Woman Has a Tame Sky
      (pp. 96-98)
  9. from A Bed for the Stranger (1999)

    • We Were without a Present
      (pp. 101-104)
    • Sonnet II
      (pp. 105-105)
    • The Stranger Finds Himself in the Stranger
      (pp. 106-107)
    • The Land of the Stranger, the Serene Land
      (pp. 108-109)
    • Inanna’s Milk
      (pp. 110-112)
    • Who Am I, without Exile?
      (pp. 113-114)
    • Lesson from the Kama Sutra
      (pp. 115-116)
  10. Mural (2000)

  11. Three Poems (before 1986)

    • A Soldier Dreams of White Tulips
      (pp. 165-168)
    • As Fate Would Have It
      (pp. 169-178)
    • Four Personal Addresses
      (pp. 179-182)

      It’s the door, and beyond it is the paradise of the heart. Our things—and everything is ours—are interchangeable. And the door is a door, the door of metonymy, the door of legend. A door to keep September gentle. A door that invites fields to begin their wheat. The door has no door, yet I can go into my outside and love both what I see and what I do not see. All of these wonders and beauty are on earth—there—and yet the door has no door? My prison cell accepts no light except into myself. Peace...

  12. Glossary
    (pp. 183-191)
    Munir Akash