The Arabic poetic legacy is as vast as it is deep, spanning a period of fifteen centuries in regions from Morocco to Iraq.
As a unifying principle, editor Marle Hammond has selected eighty poems reflecting desire and longing of various kinds: for the beloved, for the divine, for the homeland, and for change and renewal.
Poets include the legendary pre-Islamic warrior 'Antara Ibn Shaddad, medieval Andalusian poet Ibn Zaydun, the wandering poet Al-A'sha, and the influential Egyptian Romantic Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi.
Here too are literary giants of the past century: Khalil Jibran, author of the bestselling The Prophet; popular Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani; Palestinian feminist Fadwa Tuqan; Mahmoud Darwish, bard of occupation and exile; acclaimed iconoclast Adonis, and more.
In their evocations of heroism, nostalgia, mysticism, grief, and passion, the poems gathered here transcend the limitations of time and place.