Skip to main content

News and Events

Today's campus visitor profiled in New York Times


Adonis, an 80-year-old Arabic poet who will speak at the Honor's Commons at 4 p.m. today (Oct. 18), was featured in the New York Times' Books section on Sunday.

The article, "A Revolutionary of Arabic Verse," profiles the prolific poet whose Syrian name is Ali Ahmad Said and who is a perennial favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The following is an excerpt from the article:

"This year Ladbrokes, the British bookmaking firm, had his chances at (winning the Nobel Prize at) 8-1, which made him seem a surer bet than the eventual winner, Mario Vargas Llosa, a 25-1 long shot.

But in conversation he refused to discuss the Nobel. 'I don't think about it,' he said sternly. 'I don't wish to talk about it.' Adonis speaks fluent French, and his English is better than he lets on, but while in Ann Arbor he preferred to use Arabic, with (Khaled) Mattawa interpreting. Occasionally, when Mr. Mattawa, racing to keep up, paused for a breath, Adonis gave him a not and a smile of encouragement."

Today's UH lecture was also featured in the Oct. 14 edition of the Houston Chronicle, in an article titled, "Poet Adonis to speak in Houston."

The following is an excerpt from the article:

"With a reputation as a contrarian, Adonis, who lives in Paris, has been openly critical of Arab society.

In an early poem, he explored the themes of writing and resurrection: 'Oh Phoenix, when fire is born in your beloved wing/ What pen do you hold?/ How do you replace your lost down?/ Do you erase the dry error in its book?/ When ashes embrace you, what world do you feel?'"

The Daily Cougar reporter Sarah Raslan covered the event at UH and her article, "Arab poet makes rare visit to UH," was published in the Oct. 20 issue.

The visit by the Nobel Prize contender was sponsored in part by the Department of English.