The Levant News Exclusive -Editing by Diana Kasem-
“A time between ashes and roses is coming When everything shall be extinguished When everything shall begin,”
Literarily, Ali Ahmad Said, who uses the pen name Adonis, embodied the modern Arab ideal intellectual that was so beloved in the West. From the European point of view, he represented the unspoken hope that the region would one day drop its religious rules and open up to what the West defines as its core value: reason.
It was assumed for a long time that Adonis embodied modernity not only from a literary perspective, but also politically. For that reason, he has already received numerous awards in Europe. In 2001 he was awarded Germany’s Goethe Medal for intercultural understanding and in 2013 the Petrarca Prize for contemporary poetry. In 2011, the city of Frankfurt presented him with its Goethe Prize .
Some critics objected to honoring the poet because of his political declarations. Adonis announced that He couldn’t support a revolution that began in the mosques.
Now Adonis has been chosen to receive the Erich Maria Remarque Prize from the German city of Osnabrück – the hometown of pacifist writer for which the award is named.
Why Adonis was chosen for the peace prize?
The city of Osnabrück has said that the jury was well aware that the prize would stir up controversy. “The award for Adonis is intended to spark a discussion about the problems in Syria and about possible solutions, as well as about the responsibility other states bear and the influence they can have,” said the city in a statement.
Jury member and Osnabrück’s mayor, Wolfgang Griesert, pointed out that Adonis’ stance on the social issues – in particular, his “advocacy for a separation of religion and state and for equal rights for women in the Arab world” – were pivotal to the jury’s decision.
The poet addresses fundamental questions beyond the current conflict, said Griesert, explaining that his work fulfills the ideals of the Remarque peace prize.
It’s worth mentioning that the Syrian poet Adonis was an essayist and a translator, who was considered one of the most influential and dominant Arab poets of the modern era. He led a modernist revolution in the second half of the 20th century, exerting a seismic influence on Arabic poetry comparable to T. S. Eliot’s in the anglophone world.
Adonis’s publications include twenty volumes of poetry and thirteen of criticism. His dozen books of translation to Arabic include the poetry of Saint-John Perse and Yves Bonnefoy, and the first complete Arabic translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (2002). His multi-volume anthology of Arabic poetry, covering almost two millennia of verse, has been in print since its publication in 1964. He has edited several volumes of the works of the most influential writers of Arab modernity.
Adonis is a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, he has been regularly nominated for the award since 1988 and has been described as the greatest living poet of the Arab world.
Sources: DW And Wikipedia