Nasib Arida

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Nasib Arida
Four members of the Pen League in 1920. Left to right: Arida, Kahlil Gibran, Abd al-Masih Haddad, and Mikha'il Na'ima
Four members of the Pen League in 1920. Left to right: Arida, Kahlil Gibran, Abd al-Masih Haddad, and Mikha'il Na'ima
Native name
نسيب عريضة
Homs, Ottoman Syria
New York City, United States
OccupationWriter, poet

Nasib Arida (Arabic: نسيب عريضة‎, ALA-LC: Nasīb ʻArīḍah; 1887–1946) was a Syrian-born poet and writer of the Mahjar movement and a founding member of the New York Pen League.


Arida was born in Homs to a Syrian Greek Orthodox family where he received his education until his immigration to the United States in 1905.[1] In New York City, Arida started working in retail and writing for Al-Hoda and Meraat-ul-Gharb. Arida later married Najeeba Haddad, the sister of fellow Homs-born writers Abd al-Masih Haddad and Nadra Haddad; the couple would not have children, but would raise the daughter of another Haddad brother after the latter's wife's death in childbirth.

In 1913, Arida founded Al-Funoon,[2] which was "the first attempt at an exclusively literary and artistic magazine by the Arab immigrant community in New York."[3] In 1915[4] or 1916[5] along with Abd al-Masih Haddad he co-founded the Pen League in New York, an Arabic-language literary society, later joined by Kahlil Gibran, Mikha'il Na'ima and other Mahjari poets in 1920.[6] He had one collection of poems, Perplexed Spirits (الأرواح الحائرة), published in 1946.[7] He died the same year.

Similar to other Syro-Lebanese writers and intellectuals of his time, Arida opposed the Ottoman rule on Syria and repression of Syrian nationalism. He lamented that the Syrian people were slow to act or protest, as in the following poem:

No, by my God a heartless people receive only death as a gift.
Let history turn a page of failure and settle its accounts.
Perhaps rage, perhaps shame, perhaps fire may move the heart of a coward.
All these are in us, but all they move is the tongue.[1]


  1. ^ a b Bawardi 2015, p. 70.
  2. ^ Younis, Adele L. (1995). The coming of the Arabic-speaking people to the United States. ISBN 9780934733403.
  3. ^ Bushrui.
  4. ^ Haiek 1984, p. 27.
  5. ^ Popp 2001.
  6. ^ Meisami & Starkey 1998, p. 259.
  7. ^ Jayyusi & Tingley 1977.


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