Ali Ahmad Said was born in 1930 in a Syrian village overlooking the Mediterranean. As a boy he was schooled at home by his father, a peasant respected in the neighborhood for his exceptional learning. By him the future poet (who at seventeen adopted his pen name Adonis) was very early introduced to the language of the Koran and to the great figures of classical Arab culture. After the French lycee in Tartus and university studies in Damascus came a term of military service, half of which he spent in prison for political activities. In 1956, with his wife, Adonis made his way to Beirut, and in 1960 chose to become a Lebanese citizen. With Yussef el-Khal he founded the influential review Chir. In 1980 Adonis accepted a post of associate professor at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle; from 1984 dates the masterful series of lectures on Arab poetics given at the College de France. Poet, editor, translator and literary critic, Adonis is the author of over twenty books; his poems and prose have been translated into French, Spanish, English, Norwegian, Swedish, Turkish, German. On two occasions he has been a Nobel finalist. Describing Adonis as "the poet of the beyond, of restlessness and questioning, a seeker after the eternal moment of freshness and the time of possibilities, " the critic Kamal Abu Deeb goes on to say: "Both as a theorist and a poet, Adonis is the writer with the greatest influence in Arabic poetry today [...]Sophisticated, enidite, widely read in Arabic and European literature, with a deep understanding of Arabic culture and the forces which have shaped it[...], he has a dazzling linguistic flair and power. A rebel and force of destruction, but also a force of positive rejection andwith a tormenting love for his culture and his country, he is certainly one of the greatest poets in the history of the language."