London’s Mosaic Rooms Hosting ‘Major Tribute’ to Adonis

In February and March of 2012, London’s Mosaic Rooms will be hosting an exhibition of Adonis’s drawings as well as four literary events celebrating the celebrated Syrian writer’s poetry and criticism.

The Dec. 20 news release, which calls Adonis a “favourite for the Nobel Prize for Literature” notes that Adonis attracted “controversy and debate because of his cautionary and critical worlds on the Arab Spring.”

One imagines such caution and criticism are more fashionable now than they were six months ago.

The series of talks will be on Adonis’s poetry (my review of Adonis: Selected Poems) and literary criticism, and will also address history, Sufism, and politics. His art exhibition, according to the release, will feature 100 pieces of Adonis’ works of ink on paper. The works — a few of which are pictured here — include “sections of poetry, handwritten in Arabic calligraphy and collaged with layers of found objects such as old parchments, rags and paper fragments.”

The exhibition will be open Tuesdat-Saturday from 11 to 6 p.m. Entry is free.

The program:

Open evening, 3 February
7pm, Tickets £8; Concessions £5
Adonis will be introduced by Khaled Mattawa, Libyan-American poet and translator of an award-winning selection of Adonis’ poetry published in 2010 by Yale University Press. The evening will include readings, in Arabic, by Adonis and, in English, by Khaled Mattawa.

Arab Civilisation Beyond Monotheism, 4 February
12pm, Tickets £8; Concessions £5
A discussion of pre-Islamic Arabic poetry, the Qur’an and the development of Arabic after the advent of Islam, with a focus on Adonis’ ground-breaking critical work The Permanent and the Evolving.

Sufism vs Islam? Surrealism and Religion in Poetry, 7 February
7pm, Tickets £8; Concessions £5
In his 1992 book, Al-Sufiyya wa Al-Suryaliyya (Sufism and Surrealism), Adonis argued that the deeper sources from which symbolism and surrealism flow are identical to those of Sufism. The evening will include a discussion of this influential book.

Reflections on the Role of the Intellectual in Society, 8 February
7pm, Tickets £8; Concessions £5
A literary and historical discussion with award-winning and dissident Chinese poet Yang Lian followed by reflections on literature and revolution and the influence of English Modernism on Arabic poetry.