It was as early as 1950 that the poet first realized how the poem can be “a threat to the sword” as he was harassed by the Israeli military governor for writing and reciting poetry that expressed his strong sense of Arab and Palestinian identity.Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning on Sunday after Mahmoud Darwish, the poet who gave a voice to the Palestinian people died aged 67 in Houston, Texas, after complications with heart surgery.
Darwish was considered one of the great contemporary Arab poets, and will be given a state funeral today, the first since Yasir Arafat died in 2004.
The words above come from a profile on his website. There are also articles about him in the New York Times, and in the Guardian. Some of his poems in translation can be found here.
(Pic from NYT shows crowds mourning in Ramallah.)