Elia Abu Madi

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Elia Abu Madi
Elia Abu Madi.jpg
Bornإيليا أبو ماضي
(Īlyā Abū Māḍī )
(1890-05-15)May 15, 1890
Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, Ottoman Syria
Died November 23, 1957(1957-11-23) (aged 67)
New York, United States of America
  • Poet
  • journalist
  • publisher
Literary movementMahjar (The Pen League), New York City

Elia Abu Madi (also known as Elia D. Madey; Arabic: إيليا أبو ماضي Īlyā Abū Māḍī [note 1]) (May 15, 1890 – November 23, 1957) was a Lebanese-born American poet.

Early life[edit]

Abu Madi was born in the village of Al-Muhaydithah, now part of Bikfaya, Lebanon, on May 15, 1890 to a Greek Orthodox Christian family. At the age of 11 he moved to Alexandria, Egypt where he worked with his uncle.

Career and Works[edit]

In 1911, Elia Abu Madi published his first collection of poems, Tazkar al-Madi. Shortly after, he was exiled by the Ottoman authorities[2] and he left Egypt for the United States, where he settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1916, he moved to New York City and began a career in journalism. In New York, Abu Madi met and worked with a number of Arab-American poets including Gibran Khalil Gibran. He married the daughter of Najeeb Diab, editor of the Arabic-language magazine Meraat-ul-Gharb, and became its chief editor in 1918. His second poetry collection, Diwan Iliya Abu Madi, was published in New York in 1919; his third and most important collection, Al-Jadawil ("The Streams"), appeared in 1927. His other books were Al-Khama'il ("The Thickets")[3](1940) and Tibr wa Turab (posthumous, 1960).

In 1929, Abu Madi founded his own periodical, As-Samir, in Brooklyn. It began as a monthly but after a few years it was published five times a week.

His poems are very well known among Arabs; poet, author, and journalist Gregory Orfalea wrote that "his poetry is as commonplace and memorized in the Arab world as that of Robert Frost is in ours."[note 2]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Lebanese Arabic Transliteration: Īlya Abu Māḍi, pronounced [ˈʔiːlja (ʔa)buˈmɑːdi].
  2. ^ In A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City, ed. Kathleen Benson, Syracuse University Press, 2002, page 62.

Scholarly criticism[edit]

  1. Ahmad, Imtyaz. "Abu Madi: A Voice of Modernity in Contemporary Arabic Poetry" (PDF). Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  2. Alawi, Nabil. "Arab American Poets: The Politics of Exclusion and Assimilation" (PDF).
  3. Boullata, Issa J. "Iliya Abu Madi and the Riddle of Life in His Poetry" Journal of Arabic Literature, 1986; 17: 69-81. (journal article)
  4. Nijland, Cornelis. "Religious Motifs and Themes in North American Mahjar Poetry" pp. 161–81 IN: Borg, Gert (ed. and introd.); De Moor, Ed (ed.); Representations of the Divine in Arabic Poetry. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi; 2001. 239 pp. (book article)
  5. Romy, Cynthia Johnson. Diwan Al-Jadawil of Iliya Abu Madi (Masterʻs thesis, University of Arizona). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10150/291551


  1. ^ Marmorstein, Emile (October 1964). "Rāshid Husain: Portrait of an Angry Young Arab". Middle Eastern Studies. 1 (1): 3–20. doi:10.1080/00263206408700002.
  2. ^ Orfalea, Gregory (2002). Benson, Kathleen; Kayal, Philip (eds.). My Mother's Zither. New York: Syracuse University Press. p. 63. ISBN 0815607393.
  3. ^ Ahmad, Imtyaz. "Abu Madi: A Voice of Modernity in Contemporary Arabic Poetry" (PDF). Retrieved July 30, 2016.


  • Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Trends and Movements in Modern Arabic Poetry, Brill, 1977.
  • Encyclopedia of Islam, Brill, 1980.
  • The New Anthology of American Poetry, eds. Steven Gould Axelrod, Camille Roman, Thomas J. Travisano, Rutgers University Press, 2005.
  • Orfalea, Gregory; Elmusa, Sharif, eds. (1999). Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry. New York: Interlink. pp. 65–82. ISBN 1566563380.
  • Poeti arabi a New York. Il circolo di Gibran, introduzione e traduzione di F. Medici, prefazione di A. Salem, Palomar, Bari 2009. ISBN 88-7600-340-1. ISBN 978-88-7600-340-0.