In the Presence of Absence

In the Presence of Absence

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Author: Mahmoud Darwish

Translator: Sinan Antoon

Publisher: Archipelago Books (2011)

One of the most transcendent poets of his generation, Darwish composed this remarkable elegy at the apex of his creativity, but with the full knowledge that his death was imminent. Thinking it might be his final work, he summoned all his poetic genius to create a luminous work that defies categorization.
In stunning language, Darwish’s self-elegy inhabits a rare space where opposites bleed and blend into each other. Prose and poetry, life and death, home and exile are all sung by the poet and his other. On the threshold of im/mortality, the poet looks back at his own existence, intertwined with that of his people.
Through these lyrical meditations on love, longing, Palestine, history, friendship, family, and the ongoing conversation between life and death, the poet bids himself and his readers a poignant farewell.

"Mahmoud Darwish is one of the greatest poets of our time. In his poetry, Palestine becomes the map of the human soul."

—Elias Khoury