Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Google Celebrates Lebanese Poetess Etel Adnan

Mon 15 Apr 2024 | 09:45 PM
Rana Atef

On Monday, Google celebrated American-Lebanese Poetess, essayist, and painter Etel Adnan.

She was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She spoke both Greek and Arabic until French became her primary language upon enrolling in a French Lebanese Catholic school at the age of five. 

While working for the French Information Bureau, she attended at the Ecole Supérieure de Lettres de Beyrouth, where she composed her first poems. 

She also studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, the University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard University.

She wrote about resistance and political implications in French during the Algerian war of independence.

She shifted the focus to visual art and began making abstract oil paintings. In response to the Vietnam War, Adnan began to write poems in English and French. 

She returned Leba tonon to become the cultural editor of the new French-language newspaper Al-Safa. But moved to Paris during the civil war, where she wrote the novel Sitt Marie Rose (1977), that won the France-Pays Arabes Award. 

In 1979 Adnan returned to California.

Adnan’s poetry incorporates surrealist imagery and powerful metaphorical leaps with language-based and formal experimentation, using unexpected and experimental techniques to address the nature of exile and political, social, and gender-based injustice. 

Her many collections of poetry include Shifting the Silence (2020); Time (2019), winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize; Surge (2018); Night (2016); Seasons (2008); There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and the Other (1997); The Spring Flowers Own & Manifestations of the Voyage (1990); The Indian Never Had a Horse (1985); and Moonshots (1966).

In addition to Sitt Marie Rose, Adnan’s prose includes Of Cities and Women (Letters to Fawwaz) (1993), a series of letters on feminism that Adnan wrote to exiled Arab intellectual Fawwaz Traboulsi; Paris, When It’s Naked (1993); and Master of the Eclipse (2009), winner of the Arab American Book Award.