This remarkable collection of poems, meditations, fragments, and journal entries was Mahmoud Darwish's last volume to come out in Arabic. This River is at once lyrical and philosophical, questioning and wise, full of irony, resistance, and play. Darwish's musings on unrest and loss dwell on love and humanity; myth and dream are inseparable from truth. Throughout this personal collection, Darwish returns frequently to his ongoing and often lighthearted conversation with death. A River Dies of Thirst is a collection of quiet revelations, embracing poetry, life, death, love, and the human condition.
Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) was born in the village of al-Birwa, in the Galilee, Palestine. He became a refugee at age seven. He worked as a journalist and editor in Haifa and left to study in Moscow in 1970. His exilic journey took him to Cairo, Beirut, Tunis, Paris, Amman, and Ramallah, where he settled in 1995. He is one of the most celebrated and revered poets in the Arab world. He published more than thirty books, and his poetry has been translated into thirty-five languages. Darwish was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by France in 1993, was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize in 2001, the Prince Claus Award in 2004, and the Cairo Prize for Arabic Poetry in 2007. Catherine Cobham teaches Arabic language and literature at St. Andrews University in Scotland and has translated a number of contemporary authors from the Arabic, including Naguib Mahfouz, Hanan al-Shaykh, and Fu'ad al-Takarli.