Saturday, February 18, 2006

Adonis on Surrealism and Sufiism

I was at Seminary Co-op yesterday with Mark Tardi and I picked up a wonderful thin volume called Sufism and Surrealism by the Syrian poet Adonis. It is published by the British publisher Saqi. I bought it as a throw in to some other books I wanted very much and I have found that the throw in is more interesting.

In the work he addresses the following topics-Knowledge-Imagination-Love-Writing-The Aesthetic Dimension-Harmonious Difference in the first part and then he compared Sufi writers to Surrealist writers in the second part. The work is so interesting because of the joining tissue
of the book. It brings in so much and fills the book.

Sufism is interesting for allot of reasons. As with all mystical systems in the Abrahamic religions Sufism is the most in touch with religion as experience rather than religion as rules. The Sufis have been profoundly influenced by Christian Desert mysticism and Buddhism and they in turn have influence Hinduism, and Spanish Mysticism this mixing gives me hope in the current violent world we live in. The most interesting part of this book is that Adonis reads Rimbaud as an oriental (his word) Sufi poet. To put Rimbaud in that category makes this book particularly delicious.

The most provacative quote Adonis uses in from the poet Al-Niffari

" The more you see, the narrower the means of expressing it"


At 12:07 PM, Blogger Kerri said...

I remember coming across Adonis in the Poems for the Millenium anthologies a while back and thinking, "find more this."

Without having as much of a comparative religions background, the hunch has crossed my mind that the huge conceit the surrealists made to Beauty parallels some mystical traditions of the east. Whereas these other experiential, mystical traditions like Buddhism do have set ideas about what orders the universe, gives it a logic within their system of beliefs, for the Surrealists order is disorder, hazard.. or is it Beauty? I wonder. Does he say anything toward this?

Those "thrown ins" have been some of my best finds too.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger James said...

I have Adonis's An Introduction to Arab Poetics. It's very good.


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