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Etel Adnan was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1925. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, U.C. Berkeley, and at Harvard, and taught at Dominican College in San Rafael, California. In 2014 she was awarded one of France’s highest cultural honors: l’Ordre de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres and was a winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry, and the California Book Award for Poetry in 2013 for Sea and Fog. Her most recent books are Night (2016) and Surge (2018).

Time

Nightboat Books
2020 Winner
United States

Judges’ Citation

I say that I’m not afraid/of dying because I haven’t/ yet had the experience/ of death’ writes Etel Adnan in the opening poem to Time.

I say that I’m not afraid/of dying because I haven’t/ yet had the experience/ of death’ writes Etel Adnan in the opening poem to Time. What is astonishing here is how she manages to give weariness its own relentless energy. We are pulled quickly through this collection – each poem, only a breath, a small measure of the time that Adnan is counting. Every breath is considered, measured, observant – perceiving even ‘a crack in the/ texture of the day.’ If Adnan is correct and ‘writing comes from a dialogue/ with time’ then this is a conversation the world should be leaning into, listening to a writer who has earned every right to be listened to.