Ma'ari, Abul Ala'a al- (973-1057): great Arab poet, known for his virtuosity and for the originality and pessimism of his vision. Al-Ma'arri was a descendant of the Tanukh tribe. He was born in the Syrian town of Ma'arrat al-No'man near Aleppos. A childhood disease left him virtually blind. He studied at the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Antioch, and Tripoli and soon began his literary career, supported by a small private income. His early poems were collected in Saqt az-zand ("The Tinder Spark"), which gained great popularity. After about two years in Baghdad, al-Ma'arri returned to northern Syria in 1010, partly because of his mother's ill health. In Baghdad he had been well received at first in prestigious literary salons; but when he refused to sell his panegyrics, he was unable to find a dependable patron. He renounced material wealth and retired to a secluded dwelling, living there on a restrictive diet. Al-Ma'arri enjoyed respect and authority locally, and many students came to study with him. He also maintained an active correspondence.:
Mutanabi, Abul Tayyeb al- (915-965), poet regarded by many as the greatest of the Arabic language. He primarily wrote panegyrics in a flowery, bombastic style marked by improbable metaphors. He influenced Arabic poetry until the 19th century and has been widely quoted. Al-Mutanabbi was the son of a water carrier who claimed noble and ancient southern Arabian descent. Owing to his poetic talent, al-Mutanabbi received an education. When Shi'ite Qarmatians sacked Al-Kufah in 924, he joined them and lived among the Bedouin, learning their doctrines and Arabic. Claiming to be a prophet--hence the name al-Mutanabbi ("The Would-be Prophet")--he led a Qarmatian revolt in Syria in 932. After its suppression and two years' imprisonment, he recanted in 935 and became a wandering poet.He began to write panegyrics in the tradition established by the poets Abu Tammam (d. 845) and al-Buhturi (d. 897). In 948 he attached himself to Sayf ad-Dawla, the Hamdanid poet-prince of northern Syria. During his association with Sayf ad-Dawlah, al-Mutanabbi wrote in praise of his patron panegyrics that rank as masterpieces of Arabic poetry. The latter part of this period was clouded with intrigues and jealousies that culminated in al-Mutanabbi's leaving Syria for Egypt, then ruled in name by the Ikhshidids. Al-Mutanabbi attached himself to the regent, the black eunuch Abu al-Misk Kafur, who had been born a slave. But he offended Kafur with scurrilous satirical poems and fled Egypt in 960. He lived in Shiraz, Iran, under the protection of the Adud ad-Dawlah until 965, when he returned to Iraq and was killed by bandits near Baghdad. Al-Mutanabbi's pride and arrogance set the tone for much of his verse, which is ornately rhetorical, yet crafted with consummate skill and artistry. He gave to the traditional qasida, or ode, a freer and more personal development, writing in what can be called a neoclassical style.
Omya Ibn-Abi-Al-Salat from Thaqif, Saudi Arabia, Lived at the time of the profit Mohammed. He was expecting himself to be the promised prophet.
Ibn Roshd Averroes (1126-1198) Arabian philosopher and physician who helped to advance the science of his time, and has been called the Aristotle of the Middle Ages. Abu’1 Walid Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Rushd, often known as Averroes (the Latinized version of his name), was born in AH 520/AD 1126 in Cordoba. He came from a distinguished line of jurists and theologians, who like him served as public officials. As a result of royal patronage he became both royal physician and qadi (judge) of Cordoba in succession to his father. Due to the political turmoil in Andalusia (Islamic Spain) at the time, he was not always in favor, and was banished to North Africa when he was seventy during a period of persecution of philosophy. He died in AH 595/no 1198 after having been rehabilitated, but his religious orthodoxy still seems to have been suspected by the public.
Omar Al- Khayyam was an Islamic scholar who was a poet as well as a mathematician. He compiled astronomical tables and contributed to calendar reform and discovered a geometrical method of solving cubic equations by intersecting a parabola with a circle.
The Israeli novelist Galit CARLIBACH (IWP '16) has just published the comic novella It's Me, Iowa !, set in a world suspiciously resembling the IWP...
Alumni Mahsa MOHEBALI (IWP '13) and Vivek SHANBAGH (IWP '16) will have new work translated from the Persian and the Kannada, respectively, thanks to the 2018 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grants.
The 2018 iteration of the distinguished Thomas Mann Preis goes to the Romanian novelist Mircea Cartarescu (IWP'90).
Sebastian BARRY (IWP '84), the recent, repeat, winner of the Costa and the Walter Scott awards, will for the next three years be Ireland's Fiction Laureate.
Clouds, the long-awaited second novel of Chandrahas CHOUDHURY (IWP '10) is now out from Simon & Schuster India.