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AHMED SHAWQIEgypt’s ‘Prince of Poets’& Arabic Poet-LaureateSelected PoemsTranslation & Introduction Paul SmithAHMED SHAWQI (1869 - 1932) was the great Arabic Poet-Laureate; an Egyptian poet and dramatist who pioneered the modern Egyptian literary movement, most notably introducing the genre of poetic epics to the Arabic literary tradition. Shawqi was sent to continue his studies in Paris where he was influenced by the Molière and Racine. He returned to Egypt in 1894 and remained a prominent member of Arab literary culture until the British forced him into exile in southern Spain in 1914. Shawqi remained there until 1920. In 1927 he was crowned by his peers the ‘Prince of Poets’ in recognition of his considerable contributions to the literary field. Shawqi’s work can be categorized into three main periods during his career: The first coincides with the period during which he occupied a position at the court of the Khedive (Viceroy), consisting of eulogies to the Khedive: praising him or supporting his policy. The second comprised the period of his exile in Spain. During this period his feeling of nostalgia and sense of alienation directed his poetic talent to patriotic poems on Egypt as well as the Arab world. The third stage occurred after his return from exile: during that period he became preoccupied with the glorious history of Ancient Egypt and Islam. This was the period during which he wrote his religious & Sufi poem, in praise of the Prophet Muhammad (here fully translated in qasida form). The maturation of his poetic style was also reflected in his plays (including his Majnun-Layla… here partially translated in verse), the most notable of all published during this period. Includeed are remarkable poems for children and others in the correct forms. Introduction: Life, Times & Poems and on his Museum This is the largest book of his poems in English. Paul Smith (b. 1945) is a poet, author and translator of many books of Sufi & Bhakti poets of Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, Hindi and other languages including Hafiz, Sadi, Nizami, Rumi, ‘Attar, Sana’i, Jahan Khatun, Obeyd Zakani, Mu’in ud-din Chishti, Amir Khusrau, Nesimi, Kabir, Anvari, Ansari, Jami, Khayyam, Mansur Hallaj, Rudaki, Yunus Emre, Ghalib, Iqbal, Makhfi, Lalla Ded, Abu Nuwas, Ibn al-Farid, Mir, Seemab, Aatish, Jigar, Hali, Rab’ia, Mahsati, Tahirih and many others, as well as his own poetry, fiction, plays, biographies, kids books and more than a dozen screenplays. www.newhumanitybooks.com
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