There is something special that comes with poetry and its many spectacular artistic ways of the written word. A similar note could be said for the talents of Gibran Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese-American artist, poet, & writer. He was a key figure in a literary movement that completely changed Arabic literature in the first half of the twentieth century. As the poet’s birthday falls in the month of January, let’s take a moment to remember a man that continues to live on through his work.
Whenever we think about literature, Khalil Gibran (also written as Kahlil) tends to pop into our heads more often than most. He was regarded as a literary hero and a great influence in the Arab World with most of his writings adopting a romantic style that kept our hands to our hearts. He was born on January 6, 1883 in Bsharri, a town in the Qadisha Valley of Northern Lebanon. His career started in the United States when the Gibran family had moved when he was a young man. There he studied art and embarked to begin his work in literature. His early pieces consisted mostly of sketches and short stories for Arabic newspapers, yet his literature in English was also widely sought after as they were focused on highlighting the struggles of Syrian Immigrants at that time. As his name continued to grow, so did the love of his audience, much so that a museum was built to honor the poet in his home town.
Gibran – Childhood Photo in 1895
Monument of Gibran Khalil in his hometown, Bsharri
Gibran’s most famous masterpiece titled The Prophet
One of Khalil’s paintings of his sister, Sultana
Gibran as a young adult in 1900
Painting done by Gibran
The last picture of Khalil Gibran before his death
Monument of Khalil Gibran in Washington, DC
As a respected writer who broke the conventions of Arabic poetry, Khalil Gibran is one of the greatest figures to bring back Arabic literature. His pieces were truly admired and published alongside many classics. Most of them were translated to English and several other languages because of their high demand, his beautiful way with language, and the morals that came with each story. As we bid a Happy Birthday to Gibran Khalil Gibran, we will leave you with one of his quotes that always triggers a smile.
“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit,” – Khalil Gibran