Adonis was born in a rural village in Syria in 1930. He graduated with a degree in philosophy from Damascus University and went on to earn a doctoral degree in Arabic literature from St. Joseph University in Beirut. Adonis has written more than fifty books of poetry, criticism, essays, and translation in his native Arabic. He is recognized as one of the most important poets and theorists of literature in the Arab world, and one of the most important contemporary poets and thinkers in any language or context. His influence on Arabic poetry can be compared with that of Pound or Eliot on poetry in English, combined, however, with a radical and secular critique of his society. Adonis’s many awards include the International Poetry Forum Award (Pittsburgh, 1971), National Poetry Prize (Lebanon, 1974), Grand Prix des Biennales Internationales de la Poésie (Belgium, 1986), Prix de Poésie Jean Malrieu Étranger (France, 1991), Prix de la Méditerranée (France, 1994), Nazim Hikmet Prize (Turkey, 1994), Lerici-Pea Prize (Italy, 2000), Oweiss Cultural Prize (UAE, 2004), the BjØrnson Prize (Norway, 2007), the Zhong Kun International Poetry Prize (China, 2009) and the Goethe Literature Prize (German, 2011). In 1997 the French government named him Commandeur de I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.