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Modern Arab writers


Mahmoud Darwish

"I thought poetry could change everything, could change history and could humanise ...  but now I think that poetry changes only the poet."

The Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish was born to a land-owning family in the village of Birwah, Galilee, in 1941. Following the 1948 war, the Israelis demolished the village and the family became refugees, initially fleeing to Lebanon before secretly returning to Israel.

As a result of this experience, exile and dispossession became major themes of his writing. His poetry has won a number of awards, though most of it has never been translated into English.
He joined the Israeli Communist Party in the 1960s but later became active in the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. In 1993 he resigned from the PLO’s executive committee in protest at the Oslo Accords, demanding a tougher approach to negotiations with Israel.

Darwish's website

Profile of Darwish: Books and Writers

Biographical information: Wikipedia

Darwish bibliography: Wikipedia     



Palestine's Poet of Exile 
by Nathalie Handal. The Progressive, 2002.

Poetry of Arab Pain: Are Israeli Students Ready?  
by Susan Sachs. New York Times, March 7, 2000

Mahmoud Darwich, un poète rentre d'exil 
Le Monde, 23 August 2001 (in French)

Poet's Palestine as a Metaphor 
by Adam Shatz. New York Times, December 22, 2001

Translated poems 

Seven poems  
My Mother, Identity Card, Diary of a Palestinian Wound, Psalm 9, Passport, Pride and Fury, The Pigeons Fly.

A State of Siege 
Ramallah, January 2002. Translated by Ramsis Amun

One excerpt and two poems  
One square meter of prison, Neighing at the Slope, They Would Love To See Me Dead (Fence, Vol 5 No 1, Spring/Summer 2002)

Biographical note and two poems 
Excerpt from 'Mural' and 'Without exile, who am I?' (Khalil Sakaini Cultural Centre)

I Come from There 


Psalm 9 

Psalm Three 

Under Siege 

Poems in Arabic

'An al-Insan 

'An al-Umniyat

Bitaqat Hawiyah

Illa Ummi


Risalah min al Manfa

The Challenge

Poetry recital 
Encyclopedia of the Orient (MP3 audio)


Featured writers


In the literature section



Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? 
by Mahmoud Darwish. ISBN: 0976395010. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems 
by Mahmoud Darwish. ISBN: 0520237544. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

The Butterfly's Burden 
by Mahmoud Darwish. ISBN: 1556592418. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Victims of a Map 
by Adonis and Mahmoud Darwish. ISBN: 0863565247. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982 
by Mahmoud Darwish. ISBN: 0520087682. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

The Adam of Two Edens 
by Mahmoud Darwish. ISBN: 0815607105. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk


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Last revised on 04 August, 2015