Monday, January 21, 2013

Abu El-qassim Echabbi

Sculpture of Abu El-qassim Echabi park
 Ras El-ain Tozeur
Abu El-qassim Echabbi (1905 1934), a native of Tozeur, was the son of a judge who sent him at the age of 12 to study at the Zitouna mosque in Tunis. He subsequently studied law, but was more interested in poetry, which he read widely. Goethe, Lamartine and Gibran Khalil Gibran were particular influences.

By the age of 18 his own poetry was being published and in 1929 he delivered a famous and influential lecture in Tunis on the "the poetic imagination of the Arabs". Rejecting the stifling weight of the past as represented by classical Arabs poetry, he made a plea for the poet's "freedom to imagine". His own work, while retaining the essentials of classical form and language, expresses a distinctly romantic sensibility. He spent his summer in Ain Drahem, north west of Tunisia, where he wrote his poems. His poem the Will of Life has been taught across the Arab World.
He died at 25 of a cardiac attack. (By Rough Guides Tunisia)