Fadwa Tuqan: Poems Background

Fadwa Tuqan: Poems Background

Fadwa Tuqan was a Palestinian poet best known for her outspoken role in the Israel-Palestine conflict. She was born to a wealthy and renowned family in Nablus, Palestine, in 1917. She suffered from poor health as a young girl, and was forced to abandon her formal education at the age of 13. Luckily, her brother Ibrahim Tuqan was a renowned poet and assisted in her education. Her first poetry collection, My Brother Ibrahim, was titled after him and released in 1946. She later went on to study English Literature at Oxford University.

As conditions worsened between Israel and Palestine, particularly after 1948, Tuqan became a prominent pro-Palestinian voice. Her poetry experimented with traditional verse and free verse, exploring the human relations at the heart of the conflict. Her poetry paid close attention to the experiences of women, which was an area often underrepresented in the struggle. Although much of her early work was not translated into English, this has slowly changed as her acclaim has grown. Her autobiography was published in 1990, for which she won several prestigious awards in the Middle East. In 1999 a documentary by Liana Bader focused on Tuqan's life. She died in 2003 at the age of 88, having published 9 books of poetry. Her prestige has remained in Palestine, where she is known as The Grande Dame of Palestinian Letters.

The Selected Poems of Fadwa Tuqan was first published in English in 1994. It includes selections of her work across the five decades of her career up until that point. Since this publication, however, there have been no further comprehensive collections of her work released in English.

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