Nazik al-Malaika

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Template:Infobox writer

Nazik al-Malaika (Template:Lang-ar; 23 August 1923 – 20 June 2007[1]) was an Iraqi female poet and is considered by many to be one of the most influential contemporary Iraqi poets. Al-Malaika is famous as the first Arabic poet to use free verse.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Al-Malaika was born in Baghdad to a cultured family.[3] Her mother was also a poet, and her father was a teacher. She wrote her first poem at the age of 10.[2] Al-Malaika graduated in 1944 from the College of Arts in Baghdad and later completed a master's degree in comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a Degree of Excellence.[4] She entered the Institute of Fine Arts and graduated from the Department of Music in 1949. In 1959 she earned a Master of Arts in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the United States, and she was appointed professor at the University of Baghdad, the University of Basrah, and Kuwait University.


Al-Malaika taught at a number of schools and universities, most notably at the University of Mosul.

Leaving Iraq[edit]

Al-Malaika left Iraq in 1970 with her husband Abdel Hadi Mahbooba and family, following the rise of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party of Iraq to power. She lived in Kuwait until Saddam Hussein's invasion in 1990. Al-Malaika and her family left for Cairo, where she lived for the rest of her life. Towards the end of her life, al-Malaika suffered from a number of health issues, including Parkinson's disease.[2]

She died in Cairo in 2007 at the age of 83.[1]


One of her poems, Medinat al Hub, inspired the Iraqi artist and scholar, Issam al-Said to produce an artwork with the same name.[5] Al-Malaika published several books of poems:[6]

  • her first book of poetry, "The Nights Lover" (Template:Lang), after her graduation.
  • She wrote a poem, "The Cholera" (Template:Lang), which is considered by critics as a revolution in the Arabic poem in 1947.
  • "Shrapnel and Ashes" (Template:Lang) followed in 1949.
  • She published "Bottom of the Wave" (Template:Lang) in 1957.
  • her final volume "Tree of the Moon" (Template:Lang) being published in 1968.
  • "The sea changes its color" (Template:Lang) in 1977[7]

Translation in other languages[edit]


Emily Drumsta translated a selection of Al-Malaika's poems into English, collected in a book titled Revolt Under The Sun.[8]


Some of Al-Malaika's poems were translated into Nepali by Suman Pokhrel, and collected along with the works of other poets in an anthology titled Manpareka Kehi Kavita.[9][10][11][12]

See also[edit]




External links[edit]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 International Herald Tribune
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 AP via The Guardian, "Iraq Poet Nazik Al-Malaika Dies at 85" June 21, 2007
  3. Template:Cite document
  4. flash
  5. Chorbachi, S., Issam El-Said: Artist and Scholar, Issam El-Said Foundation, 1989, p. 88
  6. Arabic pages at wiki ar
  7. Maquis Who's Who, 2006 "Nazik Al-Malaika" and Guardian Op Cit.
  8. Template:Cite book
  9. Template:Cite book
  10. Template:Cite web
  11. Template:Cite web
  12. Template:Cite web