Mahmoud Darwish was a Palestinian author and poet. He was born in 1941 in the village of al-Birwa, which was destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948. He is often called the national poet of Palestine and was outspokenly opposed to the Jewish state. His first collection, Wingless Birds, was published when he was just nineteen years old. Darwish’s early work mirrored the traditional Arabic style, with poems composed of strictly metered monorhyme couplets. By the 1970s, Darwish started to develop the unique free-verse voice he is known for. His writing explores themes of exile, dispossession, birth, and resurrection. He authored over forty books, and served as editor for numerous literary journals. He received many prestigious awards, and after his death in 2008, Palestine observed three days of mourning. Later that year, the Mahmoud Darwish Foundation was established to uphold his cultural and literary legacy.