Discover Egyptian poetry through a selection of my favourite finds from the early 20th century to present day.
Sabour began writing in his early teens and later graduated from Cairo University with a degree in Arabic Literature.
“And my life passes while I
live in expectation,
one radiant moment in
the darkness of night
or one quiet moment in
the clamor of day.”
– ‘Expectation, Night and Day’
Ahmed Rami was a translator, poet and songwriter. Over 200 of his pieces influenced the music of Om Kalthoum and Abdel Wahab. The following is his poem ‘If I Forgive’, sung by Om Kalthoum.
Both a doctor and poet, one of his pieces was also popularised by the famous Om Kalthoum.
“How miserable is the flute between
destiny and between fates
He sings and sadly sings
returning my complaints.”
– The Burning Flute
The poet received much attention during the early parts of the revolution in 2011 as a result of his powerful prose, however, he has recently come under criticism due to a visit to Palestine.
Despite being such a highly respected poet in Egypt’s “golden era”, Al Akkad of Aswan left formal education at an early age. As a young boy he spent the majority of his earnings on books which he used to develop his knowledge in as many fields as possible, from Geography, to language, history and philosophy.
“Spend one hour of your life totally open to the cosmic influences others forgo and meld your nature with one even bigger. You will have then lived through all that is given for man to experience and so you would have benefited from the best moments in the passage of time.”
Most certainly one of Egypt’s most revered poets and crowned Poet of the Nile, Hafez Ibrahim was born on a boat and suffered the death of his parents at a very young age. His verses have continued to bear resonance in Egyptian society almost a century after his death.
“All the people stood watching how I build the bases of joy on my own
And the pyramid builders at the beginning of time made me speechless during
I’m pride’s crown on the middle east’s head and its achievements are the jewels on my necklace
My pride in the beginning of time is huge Who has like my pride and joy?”
– All the People Stood
Kassem is a successful writer, poet, film maker and philosopher and is currently based in America. Her works include; Rise Up and Salute the Sun (book) and Harmony (film).
“You once told me
You wanted to save
The world from all its wars –
And I told you to
First save yourself
From the world,
And all the wars
You put yourself
– Apply Within
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