Sun 21 Mar 2010 12:01 PM


Industry: Culture & Society

Designation: Poet

Country: Syria

Occupation: Poet

Adunis — otherwise known as Ali Ahmad Said Asbar — is one of the Arab world’s most prolific poets and essayists, and has also published more than 20 novels, some of which have been translated into English.

After winning a series of scholarships from an early age, Adunis studied at the Syrian University in Damascus and in Paris. He later became a professor of Arabic literature in the University of Lebanon and was also briefly a professor of Arabic at the Sorbonne in Paris.

While some may mourn the decline of poetry in the West, it is still seen among Arabs as a defining art, which makes Adunis’ achievements all the more remarkable. From his first publication, The Songs of Mihyar, the Damascene, Adunis has continued to bewitch his readers with his melding of Western styles and Arabic traditions.

Especially since the death of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in 2008, of whom he was a close contemporary, Adunis is now widely regarded as the most celebrated exponent of Arabic poetry alive today.