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At once an intimate autobiography and a collective memory of the Palestinian people, Darwish's interlinked poems are collective cries, songs, and glimpses of the human condition. Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? (considered by many his chef-d'oeuvre) is a poetry of myth and history, of exile and suspended time, of an identity bound to his displaced people and to the rich Arabic language. Darwish's poems — specific and symbolic, simple and profound — are historical glimpses, existential queries, chants of pain and injustice of a people separated from their land.
...Perhaps the most political of Darwish’s books of poetry, by no means is it simply a political book. It is a book of nostalgia and love, not politics. The book tugs at the reader’s heart page after page, poem after poem, line after line, you cannot remain apathetic for a moment...Only a very callused person could read these poems without getting emotional."
Darwish is the premier poetic voice of the Palestinian people...lyrical, imagistic, plaintive, haunting, always passionate, and elegant—and never anything less than free—what he would dream for all his people."
—Naomi Shihab Nye
Darwish's complex linguistic negotiations of deeply contested places, on the earth and in the mind, demand and sustain serious reading and discussion."