Adonis is the pen-name of Ali Ahmad Said. He was born 1930 in Syria but has spent the greater part of his life as a writer in the Lebanon. His career has been turbulent and, like so many Arab writers, he has experienced imprisonment and exile. He is one of the Arab world’s leading spokesmen. As such he has (paradoxically) been a channel for European influences on Arab poetry, and at the same time a vociferous oponent of Western values. ‘We no longer believe in Europe. We no longer have faith in its political system or in its philosophies.’ All the same, as a francophone who now lives in Paris, his cultural heroes include Marx, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Gramsci, Goethe and Rilke.
– from Peter Clark and Sarah Maguire’s introduction in MPT Series 3/7 Love and War, adapted from Robert Irwin in The Oxford Guide to Contemporary Writing.