Arab world mourns poet Nazik al-Malaika

June 27, 2007 at 3:26 PM
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CAIRO, June 27 (UPI) -- Nazik al-Malaika, an Iraqi poet who was one of the first to pen free verse instead of the formal rhyme and meter most Arab poets endorsed, has died in Egypt.

The Iraqi consul in Cairo said Malaika, 83, died of old age. She had also suffered from Parkinson's disease.

Born Aug. 23, 1923, al-Malaika earned a degree from the College of Arts in Baghdad. Her mother was also a poet. Her father was a language teacher.

Malaika won a scholarship to study at Princeton. She earned a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of Wisconsin.

After studying in the United States, the poet returned to Iraq, leaving her country in 1970 to move to Kuwait. She left Kuwait for Cairo in 1990.

Malaika published poetry, essays, short stories and literary criticism. The struggle for Arabic women was a theme in much of her work. One of her most famous poems is "Lament of a Worthless Woman," recounting the story of a woman put to death in an honor killing.

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