Anniversary of Ibrahim Nagi (1898-1953); author of al-Atlal
Egypt, People, 3/25/2003
Ibrahim Nagi was a physician and a prominent poet. He enjoyed widescale popularity throughout his celebrated poems which were transferred into songs sung by the two great Egyptian singers, Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Om Kalthoum. Abdel Wahab sang a part of his poem "Autumn", while Om Kalthoum sang a national poem "Egypt" and the romantic poem "AI Atlal" (or The Ruins), which is considered by critics as one of the best 20 love poems in the history of Arabic poetry. In fact, Nagi, despite his numerous poems, was known as "AI Atlal Poet".
Nagi was brought-up in a family that had special interests in Arabic and European literature. However, he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University but never gave up reading and writing poetry.
In 1934, his first collection of poems called "Behind the Mist" was published, later in 1951 his second collection "Cairo Nights" followed, while the third called "Ibe Injured Bird" was published four years after his death.
Nagi was a member of the Apollo Society which was a literary group led by poet laurate Ahmed Shawqi. It had a prominent role in the development of modern poetry and linking it to human emotions.
His poetry was characterised by a unity of spirit and tune which facilitates the movement from one poem to another in perfect harmony of images and thoughts. His poems represented the romantic trend in Arabic poetry. As in the case of his life in general, his poems had a latent feeling of sorrow, grief and passion.
Nevertheless, Nagi was an innovator. He established new ways in classicism using new forms and contemporary language that appeals to the readers and themes derived from experiences familiar to theirs'. He used melodious words that emanate from simple expressions. He excelled in the choice of the vocal tunes of words without restricting himself to a certain poetic metre.
Nagi was greatly appreciated by his contemporaries despite the numerous controversial issues among them. Abbas Mahmoud AI Aqqad described him as "the poet of sensitive emotions"
Taha Hussein said, "He is successful in the choice of words, meanings and techniques. He introduced new meanings that can be said to be magnificent. He is a glorious poet to whom the soul is habituated, the heart is inclined. His readers sometimes find him friendly and are entertained by listening to his poems."
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