Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Remembering Nizar Qabbani on His Birth Anniv.

Wed 22 Mar 2023 | 11:59 AM
Ahmed Emam

The Arab World is commemorating the 99th birthday of Nizar Qabbani, fondly known as "The Sant of Poetry."

Qabbani's simple and attractive style touched the hearts of people and remained loyal to his progressive school of thought despite being jailed for several times but also remained resilient when it comes to his poetry.

Born in the Syrian capital of Damascus to a middle-class merchant family, he is well-known for many seminal poems that explore themes of love, eroticism, feminism, religion, and Arab nationalism. 

His collections of poems include Childhood of a Breast (1948), The Lover's Dictionary, (1981), I'm One Man and You are a Tribe of Women (1992), and others.

He also belonged to the group of poets who tried to revive romantic poetry during the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century.

After graduating from law school, Qabbani joined the Syrian Foreign Ministry, serving as a consul or cultural attaché in several capital cities, including Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, Madrid, and London.

In 1959, when the United Arab Republic was formed, Qabbani took the helm as Vice-Secretary of the UAR for its embassies in China.

During these years, the remarkable poet wrote extensively, and his poems from China were some of his finest.

The Syrian poet continued to work in diplomacy until he tendered his resignation in 1966. By that time, he had established a publishing house in Beirut, which carried his name.

Although Qabbani did not achieve much popularity in his lifetime, his unique talent was realized after his death with the discovery of many of his manuscripts.

Nowadays, critics consider him the most notable poet of the Arab Romantic era, as he started writing Romantic poems at an early age. While he was a student at Damascus University, his poem titled (The Brunette Told Me) was published in 1944. Many of his romantic poems were published in various literary magazines.

Qabbani's poems inspired a national pride in Arab nationhood, especially in the 1980s and during the civil war of Lebanon. Though principally a poet, he also wrote essays, short stories, and novels.

The late remarkable poet married twice in his life. His first wife was his cousin, Zahra Aqbiq, and together they had a daughter, Hadba, and a son, Tawfiq.

His second wife was an Iraqi woman named Balqis al-Rawi, who was killed in the 1981 Iraqi embassy bombing in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War on 15 December 1981.

A greatest poet of his era Qabbani died on March 30, 1998.