Edited and with an Introduction
by Timothy Brennan

Collected Poems 

Paperback with flaps
Extent:  60 pages
Trim: 12 x 23 cm
Price: £17


“Considering the emphasis in Said’s critical work on space and place and the political importance of geography, it is less surprising to see the luxuriant evocation of a specific topography of dusty roads, grottos, plump figtrees, desert flowers, muddy clods, and the “beckoning hands of lambent hills”. Most revealing of all, perhaps, is the poems’ tendency to see the world through musical form. Musical imagery is everywhere, testifying to how much of Said’s mind in an introspective mood was immersed in the sounds, forms, and fables of Western classical music.”

Timothy Brennan
From the book’s Introduction

Edward Said was renowned for the breadth, erudition, and humanity of his scholarly and political writing. His ground-breaking studies of literature and culture threw a dazzling new light on the ways in which non-Western peoples have been misrepresented over the course of the centuries, and he was among the world’s most prominent voices in denouncing the modern-day injustices of Western foreign policy. This volume collects all his never-before-published poems, offering insight into the personality of the author of Orientalism, The World, the Text and the Critic, and Culture & Imperialism “to a degree hidden in those works themselves”.

The nineteen works collected in Songs of an Eastern Humanist canvass a variety of poetic forms, but they are all shot through with Said’s capacious intellect and passionate sensibility. They are also remarkable achievements of poetic craft. Said’s poetry alternates with unerring judgment between wit and pathos, between sublimely elevated and disarmingly quotidian registers.

His individual lines of verse are exquisitely constructed and richly elusive, while his poems as a whole are at once sweeping in their vision and keenly evocative of sensory experience. Their publication amounts to a major literary event, marking twenty years since the great public intellectual’s passing.


EDWARD SAID (1935–2003), was one of the most influential thinkers of the last hundred years. A Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, he wrote brilliantly on topics as wide-ranging as literature, secularism, classical music, and the politics of the Middle East. Said’s 1978 study Orientalism remains one of the central texts of postcolonial theory. Among other of his highly acclaimed works are The Question of Palestine, Culture and Imperialism, Representations of the Intellectual, and Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain.

TIMOTHY BRENNAN is a cultural critic and biographer. He is Professor of Comparative Literature and English at the University of Minnesota and the author of, most recently, Secular Devotion: Afro-Latin Music and Imperial Jazz, Borrowed Light: Vico, Hegel, and the Colonies, and Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said.


Fiction & Poetry