Magazine article World Literature Today

Concerto Al-Quds

Magazine article World Literature Today

Concerto Al-Quds

Article excerpt

Adonis. Concerto Al-Quds. Trans. Khaled Mattawa. New Haven, Connecticut. Yale University Press. 2017. 96 pages.

In his Concerto Al-Quds, Adonis immortalizes Jerusalem through juxtaposing the city to its past and present rulers, wars, streets, and religions that are deeply rooted in history. Adonis brings together Roman, Christian, Jewish, and Islamic histories and has them celebrate the marvelous Quds. The city is what always remains despite the fluctuation of politics and religions.

For Adonis, Al-Quds is an ever-extraordinary city where all the contradictions of life meet-life and death, beauty and malice, love and hatred, peace and war. It's a "Sky on earth / Al-Quds, a dream language / a language that history bleeds into what came before it and after it / that mixes the human and the real / ending and non-ending." Al-Quds is like no other city. It is the impossible that will always declare its immortality.

Adonis creates a vivid image of al-Quds and how instead of death representing the end of its inhabitants' lives, it uses their bodies and graves for rejuvenation, as if death is the beginning of another life, parallel to that of the afterlife but this time on earth where "graves are the semen of al-Quds" He utilizes creative images that leave the reader fascinated both with the beauty of al-Quds and the language that describes it, leaving a mythic illustration of this ancient city. …

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