Poet of love, pain and political anger

A poet who etches his name in Arabic memory, makes his unique mark in the world of poetry and literature, and leaves a legacy of poems that resonated from the ocean to the Gulf.

A contemporary Syrian diplomat and poet, was born on (21) March (1923) in an ancient-Arab Damascus family. Nizar lived a unique childhood, he was characterized by intelligence and determination to experiment and discover things himself. He said in his memoirs that he loved painting and found himself immersed in the sea of colors and revealed that the secret of this love is the beauty and the multiplicity of colors of the flowers of the Damascene house.

His grandfather, Abu Khalil al-Kabbani, was the famous theatrical pioneer who introduced theater art to Arab literature in the 19th century and his brother Sabah Kabbani headed the Syrian Radio and Television Corporation in the 1960s.

He was taught by the poet (Khalil Mardem Bey), who taught him the origins of syntax, Morphology and rhetoric. And he studied at the Faculty of Law at Damascus University, where he published his first collection during his first years of study, which is "Brunette told me."

Nizar graduated in 1945 and joined the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was appointed Syria Ambassador in many countries.

Al-Kabbani was known for daring and challenging all the ancient poetic principles and ideas, and this difference has been criticized and even rejected, whether by many clerics on his spinning poems or by governments on his stinging poems against the Arab regimes after his poetry turned political after the June setback (1967) and so on "margins on the book of the setback," for which radios were asked to boycott his songs and libraries to confiscate his collections.  

His first four books dealt with romantic poems, and perhaps the suicide of his sister (Wessal) for her lover, whom did not meet, had an impact on the refinement of Nizar's poetry about women, and helped to formulate his philosophy of love and his concept of the struggle of Arab women for self-realization and femininity.

He contributed to the development of modern Arabic poetry to a large extent, where he began writing vertical poetry and then moved to the free poetry and founded a publishing house called "Nizar Kabbani Publications."

He faced many tragedies in his life from the killing of his second wife (Belqis) at her workplace during a suicide bombing targeting the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, to the death of his young son Tawfiq, whom he lamented in his poem "the superstitious Prince Tawfiq Kabbani."

His poems are sung by many singers, including: Kazem al-Saher, Abdul Halim Hafez, Umm Kulthum, Najat al-Segira and others.

In his honor, the Damascus governorate decided to name the street where he was born, and a television series was produced holding his name.

He died in London at the age of seventy-five, and was buried in his hometown of Damascus which he described in his will:

< The womb that taught me poetry, taught me creativity and taught me the Jasmine alphabet >


Translated by: Jafar Shaban