Mourid Barghouti

(1944 / Deir Ghassana / Palestine)

Biography of Mourid Barghouti

Mourid Barghouti poet

(Arabic: مريد البرغوثي‎, Murīd al-Barghūti) (born July 8, 1944, in Deir Ghassana, near Ramallah, on the West Bank) is a Palestinian poet and writer.
Barghouti grew up in Ramallah as one of four brothers. In the mid-1960s, Barghouti went to study at Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt. He was just finishing his last year in college when the Six-Day War of 1967 started. By the end of the war, Israel had captured Gaza and the West Bank, and Barghouti, like many Palestinians living abroad, was prevented from returning to his homeland. After the war Barghouti first went to work as a teacher at the Industrial College in Kuwait. At the same time, he began to pursue his interest in literature and poetry, and his writings were soon published in the journals al-Adab, Mawaqif, in Beirut and al-Katib, "attaleea" and "Al Ahram" in Cairo. In 1968, he became acquainted with the Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali, who at that time was also working in Kuwait.
In 1970, Barghouti married the Egyptian novelist and academic Radwa Ashour. The two had met years earlier, when they were both students of the English Department at Cairo University. They have one child, a son, Tamim Al Barghouti, born in 1977 in Egypt, who is now a poet with four published books of poetry.
The couple left Kuwait for Egypt less than a year after marrying. In 1972, Barghouti published his first book of poetry in 1972 (Dar al-Awdeh in Beirut, Lebanon). He has since published 12 books of poetry, the last of which is Muntasaf al-Lail (Midnight, Beirut, 2005, Riad El Rayes Publishers). His Collected Works came out in Beirut in 1997. A Small Sun, his first poetry book in English translation, was published by the Aldeburgh Poetry Trust in 2003. He was awarded the Palestine Award for Poetry (2000). His poems are published in Arabic and international literary magazines. English translations of his poetry have been published in Al Ahram Weekly, Banipal, The Times Literary Supplement and Modern Poetry in Translation, and one of his most famous poems appeared as a cover photo of Pen International.
In the autumn of 1977, Barghouti was deported from Egypt on the eve of Anwar Sadat's controversial visit to Israel and was allowed to come back only after 17 years. Barghouti, his wife and their son had to spend most of the next 17 years apart; Radwa lived in Cairo as a professor of English at Ain Shams University, and he lived in Budapest as a PLO representative in the World Federation of Democratic Youth and a cultural attache.

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