This introductory chapter outlines the entire book's discourse on the relationship between poetry to individual and collective loss, the dispossession of peoples and languages, and singular events of destruction in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. It does so in the context of the devastating events that took place in the destruction of Palestine in 1948, and in relation to colonizing acts of violence that preceded, occasioned, and followed it. The loss of Palestine imparts a destruction of world and a violent rupture with ways of being and living, and yet this rupture will never simply have ended, having been located, finally, within a historical past. The chapter presents the organization of the text, separating texts by period, language, literary institution, and genre—Mahmoud Darwish's late lyric poetry and his Limadhatarakta al-hisanawahidan?, Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq's al-Saq 'ala al-saq, Taha Husayn's Fi al-shi'r al-jahili, Edmond Amran El Maleh's Mille ans, un jour, Elias Khoury's Bab alshams, and Shimon Ballas's Iya.
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