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Journal of an Ordinary Grief Paperback – Deckle Edge, November 5, 2010

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Journal of an Ordinary Grief + In the Presence of Absence + The Butterfly's Burden (English and Arabic Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Archipelago (November 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982624646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982624647
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


There is no finer Arab poet for English readers to start with. —Times Literary Supplement

Very impressive. —Juan Goytisolo

This collection of essays is one of the most effective, useful, and deeply moving witnessings of a historical tragedy I have read. The writing has an unsurpassed freshness, power, and awe exactly because it is poetry that happens to have justified margins. Darwish hungers to understand why such calamities have befallen his people and has a profound need for sharing—and succeeds brilliantly at both of these. This book should beon the reading list of every school in this country. —Pierre Joris

An important anchor in the work of a poet celebrated for providing a national identity to displaced Palestinians. Darwish gives displacement a personal and deeply anguished voice. His artistry provides greater context for a conflict that to this day floods citizens of the world with grief. —The New York Times Book Review

Rewardingly contemplative. Capably translated and helpfully annotated by Ibrahim Muhawi. A passionate ode to his homeland. —The Christian Science Monitor

Mahmoud Darwish is the Palestinain poet laureate. His verses chronicle the Palestinians' anguish at the loss of their land. Ibrahim Muhawi's limpid translation captures the longing, the ache of exile. —The Economist

Such an achievement. Indispensable reading for anyone interested in the roots and ramifications of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Muhawi's own prose and meticulous footnotes are impeccable. An inspired and scholarly piece of research. —Words Without Borders

About the Author

Mahmoud Darwish (1941–2008) was born in the village of al-Birwa, in the Galilee, Palestine. He became a refugee at age seven. He worked as a journalist and editor in Haifa and left to study in Moscow in 1970. His exilic journey took him to Cairo, Beirut, Tunis, Paris, Amman, and Ramallah, where he settled in 1995. He is one of the most celebrated and revered poets in the Arab world. He published more than thirty books, and his poetry has been translated into thirty-five languages. Darwish was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by France in 1993, was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize in 2001, the Prince Claus Awardin 2004, and the Cairo Prize for Arabic Poetry in 2007.

Since the appearance of Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales in 1989, Ibrahim Muhawi has devoted himself to the study and translation of Palestinian and Arabic folklore and literature. He is co-editor of Literature and Nation in the Middle East and translator of Darwish’s Memory for Forgetfulness and Zakaria Tamer’s Breaking Knees. He is currently working on a book on Mahmoud Darwish.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Lim on January 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful collection of essays from an Arab poet that has been translated into English. His essays provide us with solemn and poignant insights into the Palestinian people and the dignity with which they bear their tragedies. Some of his essays provide a good historical map to the current Palestinian homeland situation, the loss felt by her people and what it means to them, living within the walls of occupation.

Darwish has a soulful voice, one I would like to hear more often.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Palestinian people have spent much of the last century in eternal limbo. "Journal of an Ordinary Grief" is a translation, expertly done from the original Arabic by Ibrahim Muhawi, of Mahmoud Darwish's papers he has written since 1973, granting insight into the minds of the Palestinians who live in Israel and what the whole conflict means for them. Insightful and scholarly reading, "Journal of an Ordinary Grief" is a read that really shouldn't be missed for those intrigued by the conflict of the middle east.
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