In a new article on NYR Daily, ICWA Fellow Jonathan Guyer interviews Syrian poet Adonis, inventor of the Arabic prose poem and important literary figure. At 86, the Syrian luminary is a shrewd commentator on current affairs and an audacious anti-religious crusader who has come under criticism for his views on the Syrian civil war.

This interview comes five years into the Syrian war and the resulting migrant crisis.

When asked by Guyer what he would say to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad Adonis answered; “Nothing has changed. On the contrary, the problems are bigger. Nothing will change unless there is a separation between religion and the state. If we do not distinguish between what is religious and what is political, cultural, and social, nothing will change and the decline of the Arabs will worsen.”

In addition to discussing Syria, the conversation between Guyer and Adonis touches on the nature of poetry, the idea of East and West, identity, and his pen name. For more from Adonis read Guyer’s interview at NYR Daily.