A rare bilingual anthology of poetry from the sixth century to the present, Arabic Poems provides a showcase for a great and fascinating literary tradition.
The Arabic poetic legacy is as vast as it is deep, spanning a period of fifteen centuries in regions from Morocco to Iraq. Themes of love, nature, religion and politics recur in works drawn from the pre-Islamic oral tradition through those anticipating the recent Arab Spring. Editor Marle Hammond has chosen more than fifty poems reflecting desire and longing of various kinds: for the beloved, for the divine, for the homeland, and for change and renewal. Poets include the legendary pre-Islamic warrior ‘Antara Ibn Shaddad; two lovers from medieval Andalusia, Ibn Zaydun and the princess Wallada Bint al-Mustakfi; the Sufi mystic Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya; and the influential Egyptian Romantic Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi. Modern poets include Khalil Jibran, author of the bestselling The Prophet; popular Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani; Palestinian feminist Fadwa Tuqan; Mahmoud Darwish, bard of occupation and exile; acclaimed iconoclast Adonis, and many more. In their evocations of heroism, nostalgia, mysticism, grief, and passion, the poems gathered here transcend the limitations of time and place.