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 human- ity; 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.
Darwish is to be read with urgency, in the night, when nothing else moves but his lines.
— The Village Voice
Mahmoud Darwish is one of the greatest poets of our time. In his poetry Palestine becomes the map of the human soul.
— Elias Khoury
I want to find a language that transforms language itself into steel for the spirit - a language to use against these sparkling silver insects, these jets. I want to sing. I want a language . . . that asks me to bear witness and that I can ask to bear witness, to what power there is in us to overcome this cosmic isolation.
— Mahmoud Darwish
Darwish is the premier poetic voice of the Palestinian people . . . lyrical, imagistic, plaintive, haunting, always passionate, and elegant – and never anything less than free – what he would dream for all his people.
— Naomi Shihab Nye
Darwish left behind an entire continent of poems whispering and singing inside Arabic and calling on us to reacquaint ourselves with its topography.
— Sinan Antoon
Rarely have the personal and the political been so plainly intertwined as in Darwish’s poetry, and this book is no exception.
— The Bloomsbury Review
Like Robert Burns of Scotland, like W.B. Yeats of Ireland, Darwish was the poetic soul of his small nation.
— Tablet Magazine
At the center of A River Dies of Thirst is a series of exquisite love poems into which, perhaps more delicately than ever, Darwish again winds questions of identity, sexuality, language and metaphor . . .
— The Electronic Intifada
There is no finer Arab poet for English readers to start with.
— The Times Literary Supplement
Today, Darwish’s poetry is one of the most powerful evocations of the Palestinian yearning for statehood, undogmatic but dogged in making his memories a reality.
Darwish's final poems are graced by a mood of disburdenment, a ghostly lightheartedness. It is as if the poet felt himself liberated at last from all his prior performances, or as if the long siege of history had momentarily lifted and set him free.
— The National