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Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems 0th Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520237544
ISBN-10: 0520237544
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Editorial Reviews


". . . [S]uffice it to say that Darwish, as rendered in this English-only edition, demands, and sustains, serious reading and discussion. . . "Publishers Weekly starred review -- Review

From the Inside Flap

"These translations of Mahmoud Darwish's marvelous poems reveal the lifelong development of a major world poet. The book is a gift to other poets and lovers of poetry. It's also an important contribution to current and future discourse on culture and politics."—Adrienne Rich, author of Fox: Poems, 1996-2000

"At this critical moment in world relations, cultural, creative projects feel more necessary than ever. Celebrate this most comprehensive gathering of Mahmoud Darwish's poetry ever translated into English. Darwish is the premier poetic voice of the Palestinian people, and the collaboration between translators Akash and Forché is a fine mingling of extraordinary talents. The style here is quintessential Darwish—lyrical, imagistic, plaintive, haunting, always passionate, and elegant—and never anything less than free—what he would dream for all his people."—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Fuel

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (January 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520237544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520237544
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Darwish is the first contemporary poet I have read whom I can plausibly envision being read a millenia from now. While he writes from the perspective of an exiled Palestinian, he does so in a manner that speaks of universal exile (or alienation). He writes with images and language that speaks well across cultures; the few pages of glossary provide what little may not be immediately known to a western reader. His images are arresting but simple: "A silver thread is drawn out of mulberry trees / forming letters on the page of night" or "We gnawed on stones to open a space for jasmine". He makes effective use of repetition, with and without variation. He uses the common base of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as a cultural base for recognizing common humanity: "Beneath us is Noah's flood, Babylon, broken corpses, / skeletons, temples, and the breath of peoples' cries / for help upon the face of the waters."
Poem after poem requires a second, a third reading not because of failure to understand in the first reading but because of the beauty and depth of thought held in the poem.
Yes, it would be nice to be able to read the original, but lacking that capability, the translation provides immediate enjoyment.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By matt horton on March 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
"If "a nation is as great as its ode," as Mahmoud Darwish writes in "Mural," one of many poems included in Unfortunately It Was Paradise-a masterfully translated collection from Palestine's most famous poet that also includes selections from "Fewer Roses", "I See What I Want To See", "Why Have You Left the Horse Alone?" and "A Bed for the Stranger"-then Palestine is a great nation indeed. Darwish expresses the pain of millions of refugees who live "a present not embraced by the past...who travel like everyone else, but we return to nothing." He embodies the spirit of the intifada, where "we flash victory signs in the darkness so that the darkness may glitter," embraces the prisoner who is "accused of what is within us," knows "what the dove means when it lays eggs on the rifle's muzzle," dares to speak of love in the face of tragedy, and exclaims "you are my reality, I am your question."" -- From the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 2006 issue.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mesfera Alqahtani on April 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm so glad my mother tongue language is Arabic! I've read Darwish's books in Arabic, and they were 'uplifting', and truely goes into your heart. Poetry books are supposed to be the hardest to read, you just can't pass one page without fully getting the idea, or at least have a personal thought about it.
this book is a translation of Darwish's poems, and unfortunately, it did not catch that 'paradise' of their original language.
you can pick up the book, read it, and understand it, but you will not get the idea he is a top poet. but he is, very much he is.
still, i think alot of people should read it, if nothing more than to have a feel of the desperation of the Palestinians away from their homeland.
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