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The Butterfly's Burden

by Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Fady Joudah - £15.00  Bloodaxe Books Ltd (2007)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9781852247881 | ISBN 10: 1852247886

Mahmoud Darwish was the poetic voice of the Palestinian people. One of the most acclaimed contemporary poets in the Arab world, he was also a prominent spokesman for human rights who has spent most of his life in exile.
 
In his early work, the features of his beloved land - its flowers and birds, towns and waters - were an integral part of poems witnessing a string of political and humanitarian tragedies afflicting his people. In his later books, his writing stands at the border of earth and sky, reality and myth, poetry and prose.
 
Returning to Palestine in 1996, he settled in Ramallah, where he surprised his huge following in the Arab world by writing a book of love, The Stranger's Bed (1998), singing of love as a private exile, not about exile as a public love. A State of Siege (2002) was his response to the second Intifada, his testament not only to human suffering but to art under duress, art in transmutation. The 47 short lyrics of Don't Apologise for What You've Done (2003) form a transfiguring incarnation or incantation of the poet after the carnage. The Butterfly's Burden is a translation of these three recent books.

"Like a scientist, Mahmoud Darwish spent his life concocting Palestinian moral identit, though its links to the land, and to the Arabic language and culture, were established long before him. In his poetry he tried to link that identity to a humanist global culture, to pre-Arab and pre-Islamic cultures of the Middle East, and to those details of human life that are beautiful in any culture or place."
(Mourid Barghouti, Guardian)
"In the brilliant, bilingual poet Jody Joudah, Darwish found a translator capable of rendering in English his unflinching, questing, and above all loving poems."
(Marylin Hacker)

(Price & availability last checked: September 2018)

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In booklists: Peace and War in Poetry and Writing, Activism and Politics in Poetry, Palestinian Lives & Writing, World Poetry - Middle East,
In categories: Peace & Human Rights, Poetry & Writing, Changing the World, World - Middle East,

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