Arabic Language Blog

Mahmoud Darwish: Palestinian Poet Posted by on Oct 17, 2010 in Culture

Mahmoud Darwish (محمود درويش ‎) is a famous Palestinian poet and author who won numerous awards for his literary output and was regarded as the Palestinian national poet.


Darwish was born in the village of al-Birwa in the Western Galilee on13 March 1941. After Israeli forces assaulted his home town in June 1948 the family fled to Lebanon. A year later, they returned to the Acre area, which was now part of Israel. Darwish attended high school in Kafr Yasif. He eventually moved to Haifa. He published his first book of poetry, ‘Wingless Birds’ (عصافير بلا أجنحة), at the age of nineteen. Darwish went to study in the USSR. He attended the University of Moscow for one year, before moving to Egypt and Lebanon. When he joined the PLO in 1973, he was banned from reentering Israel. Darwish was allowed to settle in Ramallah in 1995, although he said he felt was living in exile there.

Darwish was twice married and divorced. His first wife was the writer Rana Kabbani. In the mid-1980s, he married an Egyptian translator, Hayat Heeni. He had no children. Darwish had a history of heart disease, suffering a heart attack in 1984, followed by two heart operations, in 1984 and 1998. Darwish died on the 9th of August 2007 following a hear surgery.

Darwish published over thirty volumes of poetry and eight books of prose. Darwish’s early writings are in the classical Arabic style. In the 1970s he adopted a “free-verse” technique that did not abide strictly by classical poetic norms. The quasi-Romantic diction of his early works gave way to a more personal, flexible language.

Tags: , , ,
Keep learning Arabic with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Geoff:

    Thank you, Aziza, for this introduction to Mahmoud Darwish. Of all your many posts, I think this is the one I have enjoyed most. I feel that I want to go out and buy some of his poetry. But I have an observation. It seems to me that readers of Arabic must have extremely good eyesight. So much that is printed and screen-displayed, as also in your blogs, is in a small font size which is very difficult to read, at least for a non-Arab like me. Is there any reason for this seemingly ubiquitous use of tiny font sizes?
    Thank you,

    • aziza:

      @Geoff Thank you very much Geoff, and sorry for the trouble of dealing with a small font. In fact, the software that we use to write the blogs does not give us the option to manipluate the font size. We have been promised an update that would improve it. I am looking forward to it!

  2. Leopold:

    Great blog, I will be reading a lot more. Have a look at my poetry blog for info on reading classical poetry.