Songs of Mihyar the Damascene
Poetry by Adonis
Translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid Ivan Eubanks
With a contribution by Robyn Creswell
Written in the early 1960s, Songs of Mihyar the Damascene is widely considered to be the apex of the modernist poetry movement in the Arab world, a radical departure from the rigid formal structures that had dominated Arabic poetry until the 1950s. Drawing not only on Western influences, such as T.S. Eliot and Nietzsche, but on the deep tradition and history of Arabic poetry, Adonis accomplished a masterful and unprecedented transformation of the forms and themes of Arabic poetry, initiating a profound revaluation of cultural and poetic traditions. Songs of Mihyar is a masterpiece of world literature that rewrites—through Mediterranean myths and renegade Sufi mystics—what it means to be an Arab in the modern world.