Nassib Arida


Syrian poet, journalist and one of the founders of al-Rabita al-Qalamiyya ,the Arab-American literary community in New York.

Nassib Arida was born in Homs, in August 1887. His father and uncles owned a textile weaving factory. He received his primary education at the Russian school. From 1900-1904, he was sent on scholarship from the Russian-Palestinian association to continue school in Nazareth, Palestine, where fellow writer Mikhail N"aimi also studied.

In 1905, Arida migrated to New York, where he began writing and publishing essays and poetry in Arab-American publications such as al-Huda, Mir"at at Gharb (Mirror of the West), al-Sa"ih (the Tourist). In 1912, he established a printing press in New York called the Atlantic.

In 1913, he published a monthly magazine called al-Funoun (the Arts) which became one of the most respected literary magazines. The purpose of al-Funoun, as stated by Arida, was to present readers with the best Arabic writings, and to translate into Arabic the best of foreign language works. Literary figures like Gibran Khalil Gibran, Mikhail N"aimi, Iliya Abu Madi, Rashid Ayoub, Abdel Masih Haddad, were contributors to al-Funoun.

In 1918, having published 29 issues, and after several years of financial difficulty, the magazine was forced to close. This was a great blow to Arida, who had invested his hopes and aspirations for Arab literary revival in this magazine.

In 1920, Arida and his colleagues Gibran Khalil Gibran, Mikhail N"aimi, Iliya Abu Madi, Rashid Ayoub, Abdel Masih Haddad, founded al-Rabita al-Qalamyia, an association that lasted 11 years.

He published many articles and translated several books from Russian to Arabic. His verse, which included al-Arwah al-Ha"ira (the confused souls) and Deek al-jen al-Homsi, was characterized by its sense of romance and nostalgia.