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The Arab Apocalypse

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  109 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Poetry. Middle Eastern studies. Translated from the French by the author. Reprinted with a new foreward by Jalal Toufic. "This book, a masterwork of the dislocations and radiant outcries of the Arab world, reaffirms Etel Adnan, who authored the great poem, Jebu, as among the foremost poets of the French Language. THE ARAB APOCALYPSE is an immersion into a rapture of chaos ...more
Paperback, 79 pages
Published February 15th 2007 by Post Apollo Press (first published 1980)
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Carrie Lorig
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
my god we are the terrible sun. my god we are terrible and full of stunt and hurt and my god alarmed earth and alarmed water. please save me etel. please haunt me.
عماد العتيلي
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it

My pain is mounting the sun like a racing horse.
The field is infinite!

I admit: I really hated the poem at first! But when I read the whole thing I knew what an idiot I was! This poem was a BIG MOMENT OF EPIPHANY for me.

A blue acetylene sun died of frost in the presence of a palm tree.
In death one plus one makes three!

This is a poem that shows you the brutality of fact, and the cruelty of reality. It WAKES YOU UP! It is just like Eliot's human voices which wake you up to face the fact that: "w
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
O caravans of hunger and curiosity O passion for Space!

They killed the dream with an axe! with an axe! with an axe!

The BIG RED SPOT of Jupiter is a storm. Matter is desperate.

A pink dove shattered a human face

lightning-rod going to the heart of a lemon

the sun has eaten its children I myself was a morning blessed with bliss

What to do with the sun when it hides behind tear gas?
Drink it. Drink it in little sips so that tenderness resembles hell.

I would love to place you in the heart of the night ma
Blake Carrera
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Etel Adnan's The Arab Apocalypse is a book that defies what we consider to be the norm for form. It is at once experimental and historical, serving as a critique and reflection on strife in the Middle East - specifically, in Lebanon. For the most part, it is largely impenetrable. The language is fractured and scattered and "graphic signs" (as described in the introduction by Jalal Toufic) are placed throughout stanzas of what is best described as poetry.

The impenetrability of the book is most l
Lyncia Begay
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Etel Adnan’s The Arab Apocalypse is a book of poetry that takes the reader through the ravages of the Lebanon Civil War. Most notable to readers of The Arab Apocalypse is Adnan’s incorporation of pictographs that signal to reader’s deep alarm as they experience a deep sense of alienation upon attempting to construct a system of understanding. This alienation is so alarming to readers because it highlights a lack of awareness— which readers either dismiss on the premise that the pictographs are n ...more
Addyson Santese
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
'On the brink of unintelligible' is the way one might describe this text. To be perfectly honest if I were not obliged to continue reading this work I would have almost certainly stopped after the very first page, if I'd even made it that far.

However, upon delving further into Adnan's glyph-poetry, it becomes clear that the author does, in fact, have an incredible grasp on language and the acute knowledge of what imagery will most affect her readers. I found myself almost lulled into a sense of
Weldon Ryckman
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading without understanding. Knowing without knowledge. If I continue making up platitudes, I’m sure something will stick that appropriately describes The Arab Apocalypse’s unique phenomenology. In the Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster Arrival, the two main characters are asked to decipher an alien language built on symbols. In understanding the language, the characters rewire their brains to conceive of time outside of anglo-saxon (?) linearity, which more or less ‘solves’ the language and conclud ...more
Jamie Shrewsbury
Oct 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
I am not a stranger to poetry, but I’m not entirely sure what Etel Adnan was trying to accomplish with her poetry book The Arab Apocalypse. Perhaps it is because I’m not Arabic. Perhaps it is because I’ve never directly dealt with war or suffering. Maybe, as an American and a white person, my privilege, (which I fully recognize), hinders me from seeing through the eyes of one who has truly known hardship. But I believe that poetry should speak to people on a universal level.

That being said, I d
Janna Patterson
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Coming from someone who generally stays away from poetry I really enjoyed this. A lot of it (or should I say all?) does not make any sense to me, but I think that's what makes this good and unique. There's an element and I'm not sure if it is the way in which everything is kind of scattered with no organization, or the symbols on the pages, but something about it feels organic and authentic which I liked.

This book isn't trying to be anything other than what it is which in my opinion is authentic
Mekenzie Dyer
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I will be honest. This is the type of poetry that I struggle with. It's very abstract at first, and doesn't giver you more than some imagery through brief phrases. Not only that, but you have glyphs to contend with on the page, which constantly draw your eye to them, but do not always have apparent meaning. The first half of the book is really hard to get through. In most of the poems, you only get a phrase or two that really tells you anything about the events that Adnan is describing. But if y ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This book challenges the reader to a) easily access the text and b) make meaning of the collection of words and symbols found on the page. In instances where meaning is not readily available, the mind–or at least mine–grabs for patterns to try and puzzle out what is important, or at least what is being repeated. The patterns in this text reveal themselves to focus on themes, people, and places of oppression. The natural world is incited to frame the multiple planes into which Adnan launches. I w ...more
Mia Aguilera
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok

A sun is yellow, green, red, blue. A sun is floral. I don't know what anything on the first page means. I don't know what 90% of the poetry means.

Most of it seems like a perpetual list, a sense of never ending chaos. Once I read a page the one before it is completely forgotten since I can't keep up with it.

First person point of view introduced on page 11. Father mentioned on 15. Beirut grounds the reader with a location. War is here.

"The Arabs' sun is a perennial atom bomb drinking m
some mushroom dude
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
a pink dove shattered a human face
May 27, 2008 rated it liked it
perhaps i read this book too quickly...meaning i was trying to write a ridiculous report on it and its classroom value...yuck...wait...double yuck! and perhaps my tolerance for poetry is of late unfortunately as good as my attention span which can barely watch a full episode of Weeds. All that said, i liked this book but at times just grew tired of it's repetition..and not via my beloved anaphora...unless you consider it a metaphor for dancing...ha.
Kazim Ali
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Etel's operatic, destructive, intensive, tragic, epic of the destruction of the Arab world. If it was a song it would be thrash metal, if it was a Shakespeare play it would Hamlet. It's absolute currency is made more tragic by the fact it was written in 1980 (in French) and now reissued in Etel's self-translation to English.
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Etel Adnan was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1925. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, U.C. Berkeley, and at Harvard, and taught at Dominican College in San Rafael, California, from 1958–1972.

In solidarity with the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), Adnan began to resist the political implications of writing in French and became a painter. Then, through her participation in the movement a

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