|Biographical detail : ||Palestinian poet who captured her nation’s sense of loss and defiance
Fadwa Tuqan’s power of words in her poems derived from the affirmation of Palestinian identity and the dream of return. Her poetry became more and more nationalist after Israel came to rule Nabulus in 1967. She gained international audience after her poetry was translated into English in the 1980s. In Martyrs Of The Intifada she wrote of young stone-throwers:
They died standing, blazing on the road
Shining like stars, their lips pressed to the lips of life
They stood up in the face of death
Then disappeared like the sun
In Call Of The Land (1954), she tells how a refugee is lured by the distant lights of Jaffa to cross the border, knowing he will lose his life. In another poem she depicts herself:
I ask nothing more
Than to die in my country
To dissolve and merge with the grass,
To give life to a flower
That a child of my country will pick,
All I ask
Is to remain in the bosom of my country
Fadwa Tuqan was tutored by her brother, Ibrahim, a well known poet, playwright and Radio Palestine director who died in 1941 and whose poems became rallying cries during the anti-British revolt of 1933-37.
Fadwa Tuqan collections include My Brother Ibrahim (1946), Alone With The Days (1952), Give Us Love (1960) and Before The Closed Door (1967). She criticised Arab society in her autobiography, translated as Mountainous Journey (1990), how Arab women were hidden in the household like frightened birds in a crowded coop.
Fadwa Tuqan won poetry prizes from Italy, Greece and Jordan as well as Palestinians’ Jerusalem Award for culture and Arts in 1990. She served on the board of trustees for An-Najah University in Nabulus.
Fadwa Tuqan was born in Nabulus. She studied at Oxford University (1962-64) English language and literature. She travelled widely Europe and the Middle East. She remained unmarried.