Meet the Author



Adonis (or Adunis, b. Ali Ahmad Said Esber, Al-Qassabin, 1930) is one of the most influential figures in modern Arabic poetry. Rebelling against the tropes of traditional Arabic poetry to experiment with free verse, variable meter and prose poetry (drawing on Neo-Sufism, mysticism and dream), he is responsible for a poetic revolution the scale of which has been compared to that of what T.S. Eliot did for the English poetic canon. He has produced some 20 volumes of poetry in addition to numerous books of criticism, translation and a multi-volume anthology of Arabic poetry covering 2000 years of verse (Diwan ash-shi’r al-‘arabi). As a child, Adonis attended the local Kuttab for instruction in Islamic and literary studies. After an encounter with the Syrian President Shukri Al-Quwatli during a visit to his village in 1944, Adonis was granted a place at the French Lycée in Tartus, and by age seventeen was submitting poetry under the nom de plume of Adonis. He studied law and philosophy at the University of Damascus in 1951, before serving in the Syrian military. During this time, he was imprisoned briefly for alleged affiliations with the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, and upon his release, moved to Beirut in 1956. It was here, all within a few short years, that he met his wife, the literary critic Khalida Saleh-Said, pursued his PhD in Arabic literature, produced his first collection of poems and cofounded the progressive Arab literary journal Majjallat Shi’ir with Syrian-Lebanese poet Yusuf Al-Khal. Adonis has collaborated with several artists, including Mona Saudi, Kamal Boullata and Ziad Dalloul as well as experimenting with visual art by writing and drawing simultaneously, blending mixed media with calligraphy and ink. He has been based in Paris since 1985.

Works by the Author

Hiwar: Fateh & Adonis, Sense & Intuition

Fateh Moudarres

Co-edition with Atassi Foundation

Related Events

Book launch

Sense and Intuition: A Conversation with Adonis

NYU Abu Dhabi Institute