#WorldPoetryDay: 5 Egyptian Poets We Love

#WorldPoetryDay: 5 Egyptian Poets We Love

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To celebrate World Poetry Day, we’ve gathered up some information about 5 famous Egyptian poets worth knowing about! If we spark your interest, explore their works and how they contributed to Egypt and the wider region’s cultural landscape. 

Salah Jaheen

Jaheen was born in Cairo in 1930 and studied law in Cairo University. He began his career at Rose al-Yousef magazine in 1955 as a cartoonist. One year later, he shifted tracks to Sabah el-Khair magazine where he took on the role of editor-in-chief, finally ending up at the prestigious Al-Ahram newspaper.

Jaheen’s works are wide and varied, having written several puppet theatre plays, and several nationalist and patriotic songs famously performed by the famous Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez.

Jaheen’s poems often involve philosophical themes, contemplating humanity, good and evil, the sense of purpose and the pursuit of freedom and happiness. In 1965, Jaheen was awarded the Egyptian Order of Science and Arts of the First Class. He died at the young age of 55 in 1986.
Click here to read some of his work!

World Poetry Day

Ahmed Fouad Negm

Hailing from a modest countryside family in Sharqia, Negm was one of a whopping seventeen brothers. He received his education at Kutaab schools managed by El-Azhar.

Negm began his working lift as a laborer in mechanical workshops, and was imprisoned for 3 years for taking part in counterfeiting forms. During his imprisonment, he entered and won first place in a writing competition organized by the Supreme Council for the Arts. Encouraged by this, he published his first collection “Pictures from Life and Prison” in vernacular Egyptian-Arabic. After his release, he also became a regular poet on Egyptian radio.

During his lifelife, the controversial poet was imprisoned several times due to his political views and criticism of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosny Mubarak. He died at the age of 84 in 2013.
Click here to read some of his work!

World Poetry Day

Hafez Ibrahim

Ibrahim was commonly referred to as the Poet of the Nile and the Poet of the People due to his strong commitment to the nation’s poor and needy. His poetry tackled women’s rights, poverty, education, as well as criticism of the foreign occupation of Egypt by the British empire.

By 1911, the Minister of Education bestowed him with the title bey which provided the poet with the financial stability to devote even more of his time and effort to his literary works.
Click here to read some of his work!

World Poetry Day

Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi

Born in 1938, this popular Egyptian poet later became a children’s book writer later in life. He was one of the poets of his generation who preferred to write in Egyptian-Arabic, and many of his literary works have been set to music by composers like Ezz Eddin Hosni and performed by music stars like Abdel Halim Hafez, Shadia, Sabah, Mohamed Mounir and many others. He passed away at the age of 77 in 2015.
Click here to read some of his work!

World Poetry Day

Ahmed Shawqi

Born in 1868, Shawqi was known as The Prince of Poets‎ due to his status as one of the greatest Arabic poets to ever put pen to paper. He is considered one of the greatest Egyptian poets and dramatists, having pioneered the modern Egyptian literary movement, and inspiring a slew of poets to come.

Raised in a wealthy home, his family was prominent and well-connected. Upon graduating from high school, he enrolled in law school and obtained a degree in translation. Shawqi then took on a job in the court of the Khedive Abbas II.

Shawqi’s literary works can be divided into three main periods of his life. The first chunk of his works consist of eulogies to the Khedive, praising him or supporting him. The second period is during his exile in Spain, where his feeling of nostalgia and sense of alienation affected his work and resulted in many patriotic poems about Egypt and the Arab world. The third and final part of his works revolves about the glorious history of Ancient Egypt and Islam, which result in several religious poems in praise of the Prophet Muhammad.

Shawqi died in Egypt at the age of 63 in 1932.

Click here to read some of his work!

World Poetry Day