February 22, 2012
Poetry from Nizar Qabbani
Nizar Qabbani is one of the most popular and bestselling poets in the Arab world. He was born March 21, 1923 in Damascus, Syria and died April 30, 1998 in London England. He studied law at the University of Damascus in 1945 then started his career as a diplomat. He served in the Syrian embassies in Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Britain, China and Spain then retired in 1966 and finally, moved to Beirut, Lebanon where he founded a publishing company. During his time as Syrian embassy, he witnessed much unrest in Syria and turned to writing national poetry filled with bitterness at the defeated Arabic people which launched his first famous poem, “Bread, Hashish and Moon” which was banned at the time. At first, Nizar’s poetry was mostly erotic and romantic and then slowly he began to write more about political issues. Many of the political issues he wrote about dealt with women in traditional Muslim society because of his experience with his sister committing suicide after her parents tried to arrange her marriage with someone she didn’t love. He writes about love, political issues, and criticizes the corruption of Arab dictators. The poem written by Nizar Qabbani that I decided to write about is, “Bread, Hashish and Moon” because it was his first famous poem and at the time it was so controversial that it was banned. In this poem, Nizar criticizes the Arabic people who have given up all meaning in life for apathy, music and drugs. He describes that as night falls, people walk in groups carrying bread, a radio, and narcotics to the mountain tops. These people live lives of fantasies and stupidity. He describes that at night, the east loses all honor. Like zombies, they lazily ask God to grant them with things such as food and children. Lastly, Nizar criticizes the east is destroyed with never ending songs, lethargic dreams, and empty legends. Bread, Hashish And Moon
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