Biography of Nizar Qabbani
Qabbani was revered by generations of Arabs for his sensual and romantic verse. His work was featured not only in his two dozen volumes of poetry and in regular contributions to the Arabic-language newspaper Al Hayat, but in lyrics sung by Lebanese and Syrian vocalists who helped popularize his work.
Through a lifetime of writing, Qabbani made women his main theme and inspiration. He earned a reputation for daring with the publication in 1954 of his first volume of verse, "Childhood of a Breast," whose erotic and romantic themes broke from the conservative traditions of Arab literature. The suicide of his sister, who was unwilling to marry a man she did not love, had a profound effect on Qabbani. Thereafter, he expressed resentment of male chauvinism and often wrote from a woman's viewpoint and advocated social freedoms for women.
He had lived in London since 1967 but the Syrian capital remained a powerful presence in his poems, most notably in "The Jasmine Scent of Damascus."
After the Arab defeat in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he founded the Nizar Qabbani publishing house in London, and his became a powerful and eloquent voice of lament for Arab causes.
Qabbani was a committed Arab nationalist and in recent years his poetry and other writings, including essays and journalism, had become more political. His writing also often fused themes of romantic and political despair.
Qabbani's later poems included a strong strain of anti-authoritarianism. One couplet in particular -- "O Sultan, my master, if my clothes are ripped and torn it is because your dogs with claws are allowed to tear me" -- is sometimes quoted by Arabs as a kind of wry shorthand for their frustration with life under dictatorship.
His second wife, Balqis al-Rawi, an Iraqi teacher whom he had met at a poetry recital in Baghdad, was killed in a bomb attack by pro-Iranian guerrillas in Beirut, where she was working for the cultural section of the Iraqi Ministry.
Nizar Qabbani died in London of a heart attack at the age of 75.
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia Nizar Qabbani; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.
- Every Time I Kiss You
- In The Summer
- Oh, My Love
- My Lover Asks Me
- Light Is More Important Than The Lantern
- The Trial
- I Have No Power
- A Brief Love Letter
- A Letter From A Stupid Woman
- Bread, Hashish And Moon
- Love Compared
- A Lesson In Drawing
Oh, My Love
Oh, my love
If you were at the level of my madness,
You would cast away your jewelry,
Sell all your bracelets,
And sleep in my eyes.
Translated by B. Frangieh And C. Brown
Submitted by Noele Aabye