Malaika, Nazik al- (1923–1992)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Malaika, Nazik al- (1923–1992)

Iraqi poet and critic . Name variations: Nazik al-Mala'ika. Born in 1923; died in 1992; graduated from Higher Teachers' College, in Baghdad, Iraq.

Born into a family of poets in Iraq in 1923, Nazik al-Malaika became one of her country's leading poets and critics. In addition, she taught Arabic literature at the University of Mosul in Iraq and at the University of Kuwait. By 1978, al-Malaika had published seven volumes of poetry and three volumes of poetic criticism. Her poetry encompasses a variety of subjects, from world disasters to the cultured Arab's reaction to change. In one poem, written in 1958, she celebrates Jamila, an Algerian woman who fought with the Algerian Liberation Movement and was imprisoned and tortured by the French (See entries on Bouhired, Djamila and Boupacha, Djamila). Her poem "Cholera" (1947), written during the cholera epidemic in Egypt, broke with the classical verse forms and initiated the New Movement in Arabic poetry. In her 1962 critical work Issues of Contemporary Arabic Poetry, al-Malaika discusses the need for the new versification for Arabic, for which she also attempted to formulate some new rules. Many of al-Malaika's feminist writings are included in a social criticism entitled Fragmentation in Arab Society (1974).