Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? (Paperback)
At once an intimate autobiography and a collective memory of the Palestinian people, Darwish’s intertwined poems are collective cries, songs, and glimpses of the human condition. Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? is a poetry of myth and history, of exile and suspended time, of an identity bound to his displaced people and to the rich Arabic language. Darwish’s poems – specific and symbolic, simple and profound – are historical glimpses, existential queries, chants of pain and injustice of a people separated from their land.
About the Author
Mahmoud Darwish (1941–2008) was born in the village of al-Birwa, in the Galilee, Palestine. He became a refugee at age seven. He worked as a journalist and editor in Haifa and left to study in Moscow in 1970. His exilic journey took him to Cairo, Beirut, Tunis, Paris, Amman, and Ramallah, where he settled in 1995. He is one of the most celebrated and revered poets in the Arab world. He published more than thirty books, and his poetry has been translated into thirty-five languages. Darwish was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by France in 1993, was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize in 2001, the Prince Claus Awardin 2004, and the Cairo Prize for Arabic Poetry in 2007. Jeffrey Sacks is a writer, translator, and scholar living in New York City. He teaches Arabic at Columbia University and is completing a book on Arabic and Arab Jewish literature, Opening Figures: Acts of Mourning in Modern Arabic Letters.
Darwish is the premier poetic voice of the Palestinian people . . .lyrical, imagistic, plaintive, haunting, always passionate, and elegant – and never anything less than free – what he would dream for all his people. —Naomi Shihab Nye
A book of nostalgia and love . . . The book tugs at the reader’s heart page after page, poem after poem, line after line, you cannot remain apathetic for a moment . . . Only a very callused person could read these poems without getting emotional. —Haaretz
In this definitive Palestinian history, Mahmoud Darwish is turning his personal biography into a modern, low-keyed national epic. In the morning after Oslo, Darwish said "the Palestinians woke up only to find out that they had no past." But we, the survivors of that mnemectomy, the readers of this Horse, will always know that there are two maps of Palestine that politicians will never manage to forfeit: the one kept in the memories of Palestinian refugees, and that which is drawn by Darwish’s poetry. —Anton Shammas
Darwish's complex linguistic negotiations of deeply contested places, on the earth and in the mind, demand and sustain serious reading and discussion. —Publishers Weekly