Info: Adonis (real name Ali Ahmad Sa’id Esber) was born in 1930 in Qassabin, a small village located on the foothills of the mountains bordering the Syrian coast. He was introduced to poetry from his early childhood thanks to his father, a well-read peasant who was an imam and a poet himself. In 1944, at the age of fourteen, Ali decided to head out to the neighboring city, where Syrian president Shukri al-Kuwatli, on a visit to the region, was meant to hold a public speech. The young boy had prepared a poem for this event; he wished to join the speakers and recite his lines, as a tribute to the president. Although he was not permitted to do so at first, he insisted and finally succeeded in reading his poem. Both the president and the crowd were held in awe by the young boy’s performance, and fell under his charm. When asked what he would like as a reward, Ali promptly replied: “To go to school”. This is how his schooling started, on the 22nd of March, 1944, a day that changed his life forever.
He published his first poems at the age of seventeen, in a journal based in Lattakia. He adopted the name “Adonis” to sign his writings, and gradually favored a liberal expression of poetry, free of shackles and ideological or cultural barriers. Adonis pursued his studies at Damascus University, and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 1954.
Nowadays Adonis’s poetry bears multiple echoes, and carries his voice beyond the barriers of space and time. He has largely contributed to the creation of a genuine Arab modernity, and enabled the recognition of the latter in Europe and the United States. Works in Arabic: La terre a dit, 1954. Premiers poèmes, 1957. Feuilles dans le vent, 1958. Chants de Mihyar le Damascène (Songs of Mihyar the Damascene), 1961. Le livre des métamorphoses et de la migration dans les provinces du jour et de la nuit, 1965. Le théâtre et les miroirs, 1968. Ceci est mon nom, 1970. Singulier en forme de pluriel (Singular in the Plural Form), 1977. Le livre des cinq poèmes, 1980. Le livre de siège, 1985. Cheminement du désir dans la géographie de la matière, 1987. Célébrations, 1988. Alphabet Second, 1994. Le Livre, vol. I, 1995; Le Livre, vol. II, 1998; Le Livre, vol. III, 2002. Commencement du corps, fin de l’océan, 2003. Ô Aveugle prononce ton oracle, 2003. Histoire qui se déchire sur le corps d’une femme, 2006. Un Bookiniste vend les livres des étoiles, 2007. Hamlet, calme-toi, respire la folie d’Ophélie, 2007. To this poetic accomplishment, must be added about fifteen essays.
Note: The list above refers to Adonis’s works that are translated to the French language.
As such, they are listed according to their French titles, with the exception of those
works which are also translated to the English, and whose English title is indicated.