Ali Ahmad Said Asbar (better known as Adonis) was born in al-Qassabin, Syria, in 1930. As a child, his father encouraged him to memorise poetry. He began to write his own poems and in 1947 he gave a recitation for the Syrian president, Shukri al-Kuwatli, which led to a series of scholarships, including a place at Damascus University where he graduated with a degree in philosophy in 1954.
The following year he was imprisoned for six months for belonging to the Syrian National Party. He then moved to Beirut where, along with fellow poet Yusuf al-Khal, he founded a poetry magazine, Shi'r. In 1968 he founded the avant-garde magazine, Mawaqif (Situations).
1960-1961: Studied in Paris
1970-1985: Professor of Arabic literature, University of Lebanon
1976: Visiting professor, University of Damascus
1980: Moved to Paris to escape the Lebanese civil war
1980-1981: Professor of Arabic at the Sorbonne, Paris
He is often tipped as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature.