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Gibran (جبران خليل جبران) was born in Lebanon to a poor family that could not afford to give him formal education. However, priests taught him about the Bible, as well as the Arabic and Syriac languages. Around 1891, his family’s property was confiscated by the authorities. With no home, Gibran’s mother decided to immigrate to the US in 1895, taking Khalil, his younger sisters Mariana and Sultana, and his elder half-brother
They settled in Boston, and the mother worked to support the family. Gibran started school in 1895, and he also enrolled in an art school where he was introduced to the avant-garde Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day, who encouraged and supported Gibran in his creative endeavors.
Gibran’s mother and brother wanted him to absorb more of his own heritage, so at the age of fifteen, Gibran returned to his homeland to study. He stayed there for several years before returning to Boston in 1902. In the same year, his mother, younger sister and brother died. His sister Marianna supported Gibran and herself by working at a dressmaker’s shop.
Gibran held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day’s studio. In 1908, Gibran went to study art with Auguste Rodin in Paris for two years. While most of Gibran’s early writings were in Arabic, most of his work published after 1918 was in English. His first book for the publishing company Alfred A. Knopf, in 1918, was The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose.
Much of Gibran’s writings deal with Christianity. Gibran’s best-known work is The Prophet, a book composed of twenty-six poetic essays. The book became especially popular during the 1960s with the American counterculture and New Age movements. Since it was first published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print. Having been translated into more than forty languages, it was one of the bestselling books of the twentieth century in the United States.
One of his most notable lines of poetry in the English-speaking world is from “Sand and Foam” (1926), which reads : “Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it so that the other half may reach you”.
Adapted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalil_Gibran