Nazik Al-Malaika

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Nazik Al-Malaika
Nazik Al-Malaika02.jpg
Born (1923-08-23)August 23, 1923
Baghdad, Iraq
Died June 20, 2007(2007-06-20) (aged 83)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Iraqi

Nazik al-Malaika (Arabic: نازك الملائكة‎‎; 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 female 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. 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.[3] 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.

Poet and teacher[edit]

Al-Malaika published several books of poems:[4]

  • her first book of poetry, "The Night's Lover" (عشيقات الليل), after her graduation.
  • She wrote a poem, "Cholera" (الكوليرا), which is considered by critics as a revolution in the Arabic poem in 1947.
  • "Sparks and Ashes" (الشرر ورماد) followed in 1949.
  • She published "Bottom of the Wave" (قرارات الموجة) in 1957.
  • her final volume "Tree of the Moon" (شجرة القمر being published in 1968.
  • "And the sea changes its color" ("ويغير ألوانه البحر") in 1970[5]

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]


  1. ^ a b International Herald Tribune
  2. ^ a b c AP via The Guardian, "Iraq Poet Nazik Al-Malaika Dies at 85" June 21, 2007
  3. ^ flash
  4. ^ Arabic pages at wiki ar
  5. ^ Maquis Who's Who, 2006 "Nazik Al-Malaika" and Guardian Op Cit.

External links[edit]