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Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? Paperback – Deckle Edge, April 12, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Archipelago; Bilingual edition (April 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976395010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976395010
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Darwish is the premier poetic voice of the Palestinian people . . .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

A book of nostalgia and love . . . The book tugs at the reader’s heart page after page, poem after poem, line after line, you cannot remain apathetic for a moment . . . Only a very callused person could read these poems without getting emotional. —Haaretz

In this definitive Palestinian history, Mahmoud Darwish is turning his personal biography into a modern, low-keyed national epic. In the morning after Oslo, Darwish said "the Palestinians woke up only to find out that they had no past." But we, the survivors of that mnemectomy, the readers of this Horse, will always know that there are two maps of Palestine that politicians will never manage to forfeit: the one kept in the memories of Palestinian refugees, and that which is drawn by Darwish’s poetry. —Anton Shammas

Darwish's complex linguistic negotiations of deeply contested places, on the earth and in the mind, demand and sustain serious reading and discussion. —Publishers Weekly

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. Jeffrey Sacks is a writer, translator, and scholar living in New York City. He teaches Arabic at Columbia University and is completing a book on Arabic and Arab Jewish literature, Opening Figures: Acts of Mourning in Modern Arabic Letters.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Flippy on August 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Years ago, a friend from Palestine recommended the works of Mahmoud Darwish. The local university didn't have any of his books on hand and at the time, there were other concerns in my life, things going on that made searching out good poetry difficult - school, work, other studies.
(It was the same friend who introduced me to Sufism and for that I am eternally grateful...)

Recently I picked up this book, remembering my friend's recommendation.

From the first page onward, from the first poem, I was drawn away into another world. I found these poems to have a stillness about them, a mournful but organic quiet. I can't really explain the impact... it was like this seed of beauty, long dormant, something unexpected, began to take shape with the discovery of this book. It was like discovering a new way of thought and looking at the wonder of the world. Reading this book I felt at times without time, stirred up into a trance. I guess it left me a little drunk.

My personal favourite poems of this collection:
"Poetic Arrangements"
"The Phases of Anat"
"From One Sky to Another, Dreamers Pass"
"Helen, What a Rain"
"Night Overflowing the Body"

I think my favourite line would have been:
"...We rise and dance until the/setting sun bleeds upon your feet..."

I'm sure if you love poetry, especially the poetry outside of the well-established Canons of England and the United States (still can't stand Merwin and Lowell...reading those two is like getting your heart sandblasted with boredom... I tell ya...) then you'll love Darwish.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Edita on May 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone?

"I don't know the desert
But I planted words at its edges"
So Mahmoud Darwish plants hope for his country and love in order to see the blossoming possibility of return, of meeting.He plants words in his poems to hide the emptiness of the present and the absence of home snatched by the gust of the wind.He has nothing to offer or expect,that's why the poet himself becomes his dream:
"I am my dream. Whenever the earth narrows, I expand it
with the wing of a swallow. I expand. I am my dream..."
Poetry is the only thing left that you can trust and lean on, it shelters you from yesterday's tragedy and tomorrow's insecurity, it unites two strangers, two chased lovers on the road which leads nowhere, two shadows of what they were, it opens the door to what "lies between a between".The reader discovers the poem, falls in love with Darwish's language, his country and ability to love, to become a dream, we as well as the poet inherit the land of the words and possess their precious meaning.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a gorgeous bilingual edition of Darwish's masterwork. With Arabic and English text on facing pages, it's terrific for American and/or English-speaking readers who can already read or are learning Arabic. Though paperback, the pages have weight to them, and rough, naturalistic edges. The cover is also matte, and well-textured. The book is a pleasant size and feels good to hold. Inside, the poetry is at least as amazing as its vessel--Darwish is one of the most communicative, clever, poetic, and moving writers in any language. This is a book that instantly became one of my very favorites.
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