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Concerto al-Quds


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About the Author

Adonis, born Ali Ahmad Sa’id, is a Syrian poet. He has been a leading figure in the modernist movement in Arabic poetry since the mid-twentieth century. He lives in France. Khaled Mattawa is professor of English and creative writing at the University of Michigan. He has received a MacArthur grant and many other awards for his writings and translations.


“The poet’s secularist summa, a condemnation of monotheism couched in the form of a surrealist montage. . . . It is impossible to read Concerto—the relentlessly high pitch of its language, its emphatic repetitions and violent imagery—without recalling its Old Testament and Quranic models. There is no other modern Arab poet who so successfully conjures the grim beauty of the ancient works even while casting them in forms taken from the twentieth-century avant-garde.”—Robyn Creswell, New Yorker

“These sensitively serious reflections imbue us with a much-needed hope.”—Jade Cuttle, Magma

“Simultaneously cacophonous and sublime. . . . Adonis is a master of poetic orchestration.”—Eric Ormsby, TLS

Shortlisted for 2018 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, sponsored by Banipal Magazine for Modern Arab Literature

“This universal concerto as translated by Khaled Mattawa has captured the beauty of the original. It is a beautiful English verse, faithful and sensitive; it is a great service not only to the poetry of Adonis, or Arabic poetry, but to world poetry.”—Bassam Frangieh, author of Arabic for Life

“In Concerto al-Quds, the poet Adonis grapples with the ravages of history and the ancient, fractious site known as al-Quds, or Jerusalem. Adonis writes with music in the blood, ferocity of vision, and bristling intelligence. Fueled by serious duende and a powerful sense of urgency, Concerto al-Quds is a monumental work and book of reckoning, masterfully translated by Khaled Mattawa.”—Jessica Hagedorn, author of Dogeaters

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