Book Review: In the Presence of Absence

Read this epistle to a younger self by Palestine’s national poet, Mahmoud Darwish


| March/April 2012


How is one supposed to feel at home while living in exile, or to buzz with life when death is ringing the doorbell? In this easily digestible, recently translated lyrical prose poem, Palestine’s national poet explores life’s endless dualities.

Written in the tradition of wisdom scripture, it is a deathbed epistle to the author’s younger self, singing of living a life of engaged reflection. Or, as Darwish puts it, “Remember yourself / before all turns to dust / so that you may grow up.”