Beloved Egyptian Poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi Dies at 77

Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi, renowned Egyptian poet, has died at 77:

عبد_الرحمن_الأبنوديAccording to reports from multiple news sources, El-Abnoudi, legend of colloquial poetry, has died. As a poet, writer, activist, and public legend, El-Abnoudi was well-loved across Egypt. As Mona Anis wrote in 2008:

If the poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi gives you an appointment for an interview in a public place, you are well advised to think twice. The likelihood of holding his attention for more than few minutes, much as you both might try, is almost next to none. Such an interview, however, is a good opportunity to get first-hand experience of El-Abnoudi’s popularity and of his immediately recognisable public persona.

El-Abnoudi told Anis that he was proud of his movie-star-like popularity:

“I have elevated the status of poetry and poets among the poor and among the fellaheen who weargalabiyyas,” he says. “In the past, they used to think a poet was a poor wanderer telling folk tales to the accompaniment of his rababh. I grew up as a poor peasant myself, tending sheep, drawing water, fishing in the Nile and tilling the land, while all the time listening to the songs people chant while working. I know how to give voice to their sorrows and their joys in a way that goes straight to their hearts.”

Born in the village of Abnoud in Upper Egypt, and originally called Abdel-Rahman Mahmoud Ahmed Abdel-Wahab, the self-renamed “El-Abnoudi” was a poet, a writer, and a researcher into popular literary forms.

El-Abnoudi’s Death on the Asphalt was listed as one of “Africa’s Great Books of the 20th Century” by a panel of judges at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, although not much of his work is available in translation.

Poems by El-Abnoudi in translation:

The Prisoners’ Laughter, translated by Aisha El-Awady and Ahdaf Soueif

The Usual Sorrows, translated by Ahmed Aboul Enein

Al Midan, translated by Samia Mehrez’s “Translating the Revolution” class

Ebb and Tide, translated by Mona Anis

Writing, transltaed by Mona Anis

Interviews and profiles:

Mona Anis in 2008: “An Upper Egyptian Odyssey

Youssef Rakha interviews al-Abnoudi: “Our Revolution”

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Categories: Egypt, poetry

12 replies

  1. As always thank you for you blog even the sad news of Abnoudy’s death.

    I translated one of his poems in the 1980s, see attached.

    From: “Arabic Literature (in English)” <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: “Arabic Literature (in English)” <comment+eqs99_jvefeh5-3hije4trmr@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 6:54 AM To: Susan Slyomovics <ssly@anthro.ucla.edu> Subject: [New post] Beloved Egyptian Poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi Dies at 77

    mlynxqualey posted: “Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi, renowned Egyptian poet, has died at 77: According to reports from multiple news sources, El-Abnoudi, legend of colloquial poetry, has died. As a poet, writer, activist, and public legend, El-Abnoudi was well-loved across Egypt.”

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    • Susan, the attachment didn’t seem to work. Is there an online version? Or could you just post it inline? We would be very grateful for your generosity.

      Like

  2. As always thank you for your blog even the sad news of Abnoudy’s death.

    I translated one of his poems in the 1980s, see attached.

    From: “Arabic Literature (in English)” <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: “Arabic Literature (in English)” <comment+eqs99_jvefeh5-3hije4trmr@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 6:54 AM To: Susan Slyomovics <ssly@anthro.ucla.edu> Subject: [New post] Beloved Egyptian Poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi Dies at 77

    mlynxqualey posted: “Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi, renowned Egyptian poet, has died at 77: According to reports from multiple news sources, El-Abnoudi, legend of colloquial poetry, has died. As a poet, writer, activist, and public legend, El-Abnoudi was well-loved across Egypt.”

    Like

  3. To Allah we belong, and to Him we do return. May Allah in his mercy grant him rest. Amin

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  4. This is very sad.
    I’m trying to reblog this but can’t find a button.
    Can I copy and paste it to my blog?

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  5. Sad news. RIP dear Abd elRahman, poet & teacher extraordinaire.

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