Adonis - I Write In A Language That Exiles Me

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Adonis (Ali Ahmad Sa'id) (1930-) - I Write In A Language That Exiles Me - From the preface to his collection of poems The Pages Of Day And Night - Read by Pierre Joris

I write in a language that exiles me. The relationship of an Arab poet to his language is like that of a mother who gives away her son after the first stirrings in her body. If we accept the biblical story of Hagar and Ishmael, as repeated in the Quran, we realize that maternity, paternity and even language itself were all born in exile for the Arab poet. Exile is his mother-country, according to this story. For him it can be said: "In the beginning was the exile, not the word". In the struggle against the hell of daily life, the Arab poet's only shelter is the hell of exile.

Being a poet means that I have already written but that I have actually written nothing. Poetry is an act without a beginning or an end. It is really a promise of a beginning, a perpetual beginning.

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