by Mahmoud Darwish; translated by Mohammad Shaheen
Almond Blossoms and Beyond is one of the last collections of poetry that Mahmoud Darwish left to the world. Composed of brief lyric poems and the magnificent sustained Exilecycle, Almond Blossoms holds an important place in Darwish’s unparalleled oeuvre. It distills his late style, in which, though the specter of death looms and weddings turn to funerals, he threads the pulses and fragilities and beauties of life into the lines of his poems. Their liveliness is his own response to the collection’s final call to bid “Farewell / Farewell, to the poetry of pain.”
About the author and the translator
Mahmoud Darwish, born in 1941 in the village of al-Birweh, Palestine, was the author of over two dozen volumes of poetry and prose. When he died in the summer of 2008, he was mourned throughout the world as a voice of the Palestinian people—author of their official declaration of independence and, most importantly, a poet of the highest invention and beauty.
Mohammad Shaheen holds a PhD in English literature from Cambridge University. He is professor of English at the University of Jordan and the author of many books, including E.M. Forster and the Politics of Imperialism.
“Almond Blossoms and Beyond, first published in Arabic in 2005 and newly translated by Mohammad Shaheen,[…is] a complex counterpoint between the personal and the political, the poetic and the poetological (poetry about poetry), the reflective and the polemical, the real and the surreal. These shifts are rapid but graceful, a grace that is well captured by Shaheen’s translations. …Almond Blossoms and Beyond is …a carefully, almost symmetrically structured collection…beautifully produced.” —Electronic Intifada
“A brilliant poet—certainly the most gifted of his generation in the Arab world.” —Edward Said