Omar Abu Rishi
poet and diplomat, Abu Risha was born in Acre,
Palestine, to a
family originally from Manbej, near Aleppo in northern Syria. He
Damascus University, the American University of Beirut and
the University of Manchester. He was well read in English, American
and French poetry, which left a strong influence on his work.
Abu Risha’s father tried to dissuade him from pursuing poetry, and
sent him to study chemistry in England. There, Abu Risha fell in
deeply in love, but the young woman he wanted to marry died of
typhoid. He described his pain in a poem called “the last love”,
which ushered in a new era of Arabic romantic poetry.
He won fame in the Arab world in the 1930s for his modern approach
to poetry in which he broke with the traditions of Arab classicism,
and for his nationalism in the face of French colonial rule. In 1940
Abu Risha was appointed director of the national library in Aleppo.
His first book, Poetry of Umar Abu Risha, was published in 1947 at
the height of his fame, and is his most popular work.
In 1949, he was appointed for one year ambassador to Brazil, then to
Argentina for three years, then India (1954-1959), Vienna,
Washington and again India in 1965. IN 1970 he resigned from
diplomatic service and moved to Beirut. He died in Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia and was buried in Manbej, Syria.
http://www.al-hakawati.net/arabic/arabpers/poet88.asp ; Modern
Arabic Poetry, An Anthology, ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. Columbia
University Press, New York 1987.