مكتوبة من القلب
Written from the Heart:
Noting Some Great Writers For Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak everyone! We’re a little over halfway through, so we’d like to recommend a handful of great Arab American writers who brightened the lives of everyone around them. Shaw himself was a great supporter of the Islamic community, and spoke widely in support of Islamic philosophies of love and compassion.

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Side note: you don’t have to be Muslim to appreciate or celebrate Ramadan! So have a read, and during Iftar nourish your body and your mind!

Ameen Rihani

Born in Lebanon (1876 – 1940), Rihani migrated to New York at age 12. By 1895, he had joined a stock touring company, but returned to his family in 1897, where he studied at the New york Law School. During his time and a brief return to Lebanon, Rihani studied Arab poetry. By 1899, he was translating several works into English, in particular those of Abul-Ala. He also wrote frequently on the Arabic weekly publisher, Al-Huda. His first full novels were publish in 1902 an 1903.

Rihani is also know for his political writings. His work Al-Rihaniyat, advocated for Lebanese independence for Turkey and received wide praise across the Arab World.

Kahlil-Gibran

Born a Catholic, Gibran was born in Lebanon and did not receive any formal education until the family moved to Boston. There he would study art, as well in Paris. His writing, which became part of Mahjar (Arab Diaspora) art, became widely popular with the publishing of The Prophet, a collection of poetic essays. Gibran was also famed for writing in both Arabic and English. He also wrote a few plays, including the posthumous Lazarus and His Beloved.

Gibran’s works are the third highest selling in the world. He was also a member of الرابطة القلمية , or al-Mahjar, or the Pen League, the first Arab American literary society, and the New York Pen League.

In many literary circles, he stood as an activist and social rebel, writing for nationalism and independence from the Ottoman Empire. One play, which was never published, pens his advocacy for Syrian independence during World War I.

naomi_shihab_nye

Born to a Palestinian refugee father and a German-Swiss American mother in St. Louis, MO (1952 – ), Nye writes often about the every day life. “For me the primary source of poetry has always been local life, random characters met on the streets, our own ancestry sifting down to us through small essential daily tasks.” (PBS).

Notable works include Fuel (1998), Yellow Glove (1986) and Hugging the Jukebox (1982), the last of which one the Voertman Poetry Prize. Her work also appeared in the international anthology This Same Sky (1992).