Nizar Qabbani Died; But His Great Poetry Lives On! [Archives:1998/19/Culture]

May 11 1998

Nizar Qabbani, one of the Arab World’s greatest Poets, died at his home in London on the 30 April because of a heart attack. Qabbani, known for his sensual and romantic Arabic poetry, had suffered several heart attacks, the latest in October 1997.
Born on 21 March, 1923, in Syria, Qabbani earned a law degree from the University of Damascus in 1945 and held diplomatic posts in Cairo, Ankara, London, Madrid, Beijing and Beirut before resigning from the service in 1966.
The poet who found the “Nizar Qabbani” publishing house in Lebanon in 1967, published his first poem, “The Brunette Had Told Me” in 1944. Women were the main theme and inspiration of his poems, considered daring across the Arab World. His native city of Damascus is omnipresent in his writing and poems, namely the “Jasmin Scent of Damascus.”
After 1967 Qabbani turned to political poetry where the themes of woman and defeat fused.
He was married twice, and his second wife, Bilquis Al-Rawi, an Iraqi, perished in the 1981 bombing of the Iraqi embassy in Beirut where she worked.
The great Arab poet Nizar Qabbani left us. The poet of love and rebellion left after he planted in every Arab city a green tree to provide shadow for kids in the garden of their future.
The great heart which was beating with poetry for women stopped after. The poet who refused to give up or surrender to any earthly authority left us carrying in his hands the nation’s issues. His great poetry is sung by many great Arab singers.
Ismail Al-Ghabiry,
Yemen Times