Desert Sorrows: Poems of Tayseer al-Sboul
No poet of the twentieth century has captured the experience of Arabic-speaking people in the modern world better than Tayseer al-Sboul. One of Jordan’s most celebrated writers, educated in that country, as well as in Lebanon and Syria, he faced the dilemmas and contradictions of the Arab world during the Cold War years. Caught between tradition and modernity, he dreamed of a great Arab nation. With unflinching courage and brutal honesty, he revealed his life in poems: his family, his connection with his homeland, his rejection of tradition, his flirtation with leftist ideology, his love affairs, his politics, his experience of war and defeat, his quest for truth. Through al-Sboul’s poems, we understand the struggle of one Arab man to make sense of a world gone mad. Caught between the restrictions of traditional life, the cruelty of war, and the political oppression of the modern Middle East, he was determined to find his own peace, though it proved impossible. After the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict, he lost all hope and took his own life. Featuring face-to-face Arabic-English translations, this volume brings al-Sboul’s poetry into English for the first time.
Desert Sorrows was chosen as one of the 75 most notable translations in 2015 by World Literature Today (worldliteraturetoday.org). Al-Sboul’s poems are breathtaking and heartbreaking. Check this book out!