In 1900 Ilya Abu Madi, a boy of about ten followed in the footsteps of his older brother and uncle from Lebanon to Alexandria, Egypt.  He grew up fast in this port city: he worked for a living, got engaged in Egyptian nationalist politics, suffered the death of his brother, and taught himself the craft of poetry. Eleven years later, he returned to Lebanon, and after a short sojourn took a boat—not unlike the perilous ones that haul today’s refugees through the Mediterranean—and arrived on the US shores in 1911. He eventually moved to New York city for good. In New York he met fellow mahjar (diaspora, émigré) writers, who together formed al-Rabita al-qalamiyya (Pen Association), which left a lasting influence on his work. His main poetry book appeared during the eleven odd years of the PA’s existence, securing him a lasting place in modern Arabic literature.
Unlike Gibran Kahlil Gibran, who wrote his Prophet in English, the other poets of Pen Association, including Abu Madi himself, are little known in the Anglophone world. This is unfortunate, because the vision, thrust, imagery, and language of many of his poems seem current. Interpreters offer a wide range of opinions on his poetry and can reach diametrically opposite conclusions; such as when his poetry is deemed intellectual lacking heart by one critic, and by another as the product of a soul torn by search. The disparity of assessment may stem in part from the wide gamut of themes and registers of Abu Madi’s output, from love, elegy, philosophical, social, political, to nature-environmental.
I focus here on Abu Madi’s political imagination, which to my knowledge has not been considered in depth. This angle still enables us to appreciate both the aesthetics and subject matter of a broad range of his work, and here I choose three core illustrative moments: exilic/ patriotic, social, and natural-environmental manifestations. And because the political is personal, we can take a close-up of how the public and private realms intertwine and illuminate each other in his poetry. I must acknowledge at the outset, however, that I have no special authority on the poet. And, not being a literary critic, I will look at his work as a poet, who even at that grazes on the lower slopes of Parnassus, to paraphrase the Boston poet Robert Lowell.
My connection to Abu Madi’s poetry goes back to high school when, like students of my generation, I memorized some of his poems and listened to them sung by Arab singers, such as the Egyptian Abd al-Halim Hafez and the Iraqi, Nazim al-Ghazali. Many years later, in the mid-1980s, I collaborated with Greg Orfalea on editing the anthology: Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, the first such major undertaking. Soon after we began planning the text, we found that we both were keen on including Arab-American poets who preceded us in the “New World,” Abu Madi being one of them. The other poets we brought in were Gibran Kahlil Gibran, Mikhail Naimy, and Amin al-Rihani. Apart from al-Rihani, they were all part of the PA which included eight to ten members and lasted from 1920 to 1931, the year Gibran died.
I hope the following remarks will also motivate others to deepen our appreciation of the work of Abu Madi and other mahjar poets and writers, and perhaps bring it together with that of their counterparts in South America who wrote in the Spanish-speaking world and established their own association which they fittingly named, al-U’sba al-Andalusiyya (the Andalusian League).
Biography and Achievement
Iliya Abu Madi was born in 1889 in the Lebanese village of al-Muhayditha, and died in New York in 1957 of a heart failure. He dived into the wreck, as Adrienne Rich said in her landmark poem, Diving into the Wreck, very early on; and it was a real wreck, not a metaphor. His first book of poems appeared when he was about twenty. He titled it Tithkar al-madi (Remembering the Past), as if he had already grown old and was looking across the chasm of time and space. And, indeed, by that age much had happened to and for him.
As a young boy in Alexandria, Abu Madi worked at a tobacco and cigarette store owned by his uncle who, like many Lebanese and Syrians, had immigrated to Egypt. Meanwhile, he taught himself to write poetry. He delved into classical Arabic poetry, the Bible, and the Qur’an, and imitated their styles and vocabulary. Two of his favorite poets stood on two opposite poles, the stoic Abu al- A`laa’ al-Ma`ari (973-1057) and the free-spirited, “wine poet,” Abu Nuwas (762-813). This contradictory stance was to remain a characteristic of his writing, which he explicitly stated in a poem considered by some one of his major compositions, al-Talasim, (Riddles). I cite below a few lines from it which I have translated together with the rest of the poetry in the essay, often liberally not literally.
I always feel a clash raging
inside me, as if between angel and devil.
Am I two persons
the one snubs the advances of the other?
Or am I deluded to see things this way?
(Diwan,  p. 15)
However, he might have perceived himself or failed to, I will dwell for the most part here on his angelic side!
The early twentieth century was a time of great intellectual and political ferment in Egypt and in the region, a time of battle against Western colonialism and late authoritarian Ottoman rule: although Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of its own and under British occupation, its allegiance was to the Ottoman Empire. Abu Madi got enmeshed in all of this, and penned patriotic poems for a wounded land and in praise of freedom. So, we can say that his years in Alexandria were his formative period, when he came of age, physically and poetically.
Sadly for the young man, his older brother died a few years later and Abu Madi found himself relocating again, this time to the United States via Lebanon 1911. The reasons for his departure from Alexandria remain unclear; they seem in part circumstantial and in part familial. Back in Lebanon, he felt harassed as he wrote and agitated against sectarianism and tyranny. Soon, in that same year he set out for the United States where he first joined his two other brothers in Cincinnati. In 1916 the youthful poet moved to New York, where he lived for the rest of his life.
In New York he met his future wife, Dorothy (Dora), with whom he had three children, all boys. Dorothy was the daughter of Najib Mousa Diab who was a journalist and the publisher of a newspaper Miraat al-gharb, (Mirror of the West), to which Abu Madi became a contributor. Then in a sort of distinctive immigrant Lebanese quirk he started his own al-Samir newspaper (the one who keeps one company, who entertains). Beside poetry, al-Samir for many years claimed his love and devotion, and his articles and those of his contemporaries in it need to be investigated to discover how and how much they might shed further light on their other writings.
By all accounts, the influence of the PA on Abu Madi was inestimable, especially that of its Secretary, Naimy, who was the theorist and legal advisor of the group, but went back to Lebanon for good a few years after Gibran’s passing. Naimy studied philosophy and Russian literature in the Ukraine, in the early 1910s, after which he headed for the United States where he received a law degree from the University of Seattle, Washington. He is considered a pioneer of modern Arabic literature, both as a critic and a writer. In his 1923, influential book al-Ghurbal (The Sieve), he called for a literature that delves into the depth of both the inward life and the richness of the outer world, and that unites the human being with things and nature because being can be only in-the-world. Poetry he said was “the breeze of life,” a stage on which humans appear in all their bodily and spiritual attributes. In al-Ghurbal Naimy also called for the deployment of a living language and of new music in Arabic poetry which he saw as having become imitative of traditional forms, lacking in renewal. These thoughts resonated with his colleagues in the PA and the book has become a classic literary criticism text in Arab countries.
During the PA period Abu Madi published his second book of poems al-Jadawil (The Brooks) in 1927, which critics consider his supreme achievement, and which contained some of his long, existentialist and questioning poems. Al-Jadawil was followed by two other collections also with earth-bound titles, al-Khamail (The Thickets, or The Woods) and Tibr wa-turab (Metal and Sand) which was issued posthumously. The poems in these books were collected in Diwan.
Abu Madi’s four books have stayed in print after his death, and been widely distributed, receiving much critical attention from scholars of Arabic literature. And he traveled back for a long visit in late 1948 and was received regally and awarded two medals in Lebanon, the Merit and the Cedar, the highest official honors. Likewise, in Syria he was given in early 1949 the Media of Merit by the Arab-nationalist president Shukri al-Quwwatli, and was celebrated in a crowded reception at the University of Damascus.
Abu Madi and Critics
Abu Madi was a naturally gifted poet. He possessed what the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca called the “duende.” The duende is not the angel of poetry, nor the muse that whispers in the poet’s ears. It is a kind of demon that lives within the artist and has to be struggled with. The Arabic tradition speaks of shaytan al-shi’r, “the Satan of poetry,” and the poem as being born, not made. In Arabic music, song, and dance, according to Lorca, the arrival of the duende is greeted with Allah, Allah, from which probably came the Spanish Ole’.
As for the substance of Abu Madi’s poetry, critics differ. He has been classified by some as a romantic poet, and even as a transcendentalist in the tradition of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman. It seems though that there is no evidence that he read much of Emerson, nor does Abu Madi’s poetry exhibit what Quentin Andersen called “the imperial self” that characterized Emerson and Whitman’s work. R.C. Ostle, who bundles him with the romantics, reckons that even in his highest phase of romanticism Abu Madi never limited himself to his personal world and kept an eye on the reality and pain of other people. By some he is seen as an optimist, with one critic, Alfred Khuri, calling him “the poet of questioning and optimism,” Salma Jayyusi advances the idea that his was an intellectual poetry, that he had ideas which he spun into poems, and that his poetry did not originate in deep psychological struggles, as earlier scholars had hypothesized. The late Issa Boullatta, who examines a range of opinions about Abu Madi’s poetry, concludes that his attitude toward life was positive and not haphazard, if one also of questioning, and that his entire oeuvre was “was an expression of a soul torn by search.”
That critics diverge regarding Abu Madi’s poetry is, I think, to his credit; for apart from the gap inherent between the words and the things in themselves, outstanding poetry and literature are usually layered, elusive, and lend themselves to diverse readings. The language of poetry cannot be decoded by algorithms, and words and images will suddenly burst with a new meaning—another reading is always one reader away (maybe the only way to subvert Google is to write “in poems.”) It may be that as Abu Madi’s fellow PA poet Gibran said, “to be understood is to be leveled,” and that Abu Madi’s work is the sum of its contradictions.
The Political Is Personal
What goes sometimes under the rubric “commitment” is often seen as fraught for fear that poems will end up purveying slogans and ideological or party lines at the expense of aesthetic and enduring human considerations. This kind of battle between “commitment” and “autonomy” in literature is long-standing and the pendulum seems to swing with altered political and cultural climates. It may be that this question could be handled better by considering Edward Said’s trinity “the world, the text, and the critic.”
The personal is political and the opposite is also true. Not just in the sense that one engages in politics in a personal capacity; for many of us, even if we don’t feel it at times, the political affects if not determines where we can live and move or even visit. It shapes our economic opportunities, decides who is and can be a citizen and who is alien, and informs the ways we look at others and the way others see us.
For Abu Madi politics was keenly personal. It was behind his familial, geographical, and cultural dislocations and behind the prejudice that was directed at Arabs and other new immigrants in general in the early part of the twentieth century and during the Great Depression—all of which left their mark on his sensibilities and outlook. It is not strange then to find that his poetry is permeated with the political, in both the contingent, or “tactical,” and enduring, or “strategic,” senses of the term. Like some of his fellows of the PA he believed that words were actors; they laid out things for us, like maps. On the whole they would have found the epithet of the American modernist Archibald MacLeish, “The poem should not mean, but be” or William Gass’s, “goodness knows nothing of beauty,” cynical, if not incomprehensible. Not that they were a cabal of group-think; but like affiliates of any artistic or literary movement, they shared an overarching philosophy and vision of art and literature while each one pursued his own idiosyncratic poetic explorations.
Three Moments of Abu Madi’s Political Imagination
Life is a poem
our years are the lines
and death is the rhyme.
(Diwan, p. 828)
Reading Abu Madi’s poems and listening to their language and music I had the recurrent feeling that he kept asking us to step gently in this world. This performative sentence I took from a well-known poem in Arabic literature titled “Life Is a Season of Hardship” by Abu al-`Alaa’ al-Ma`arri, who had a lasting influence on Abu Madi. Al-Ma`arri was a stoic who decried tyranny and the corruption of wealth that he saw prevalent in his age, as Abu Madi would in his many poems.
The dove on the swaying branch
does she cry? Does she sing?
See friend! Our tombs fill the vast expanse,
yet, where are the tombs from the days of Ur?
Step gently, without pride,
if you can,
over the remains of those who passed.
The sentence “Step gently... if you can” is itself a gentle way of saying step gently.
Having a light footprint in this life for Abu Madi involves other people, other creatures, and nature in general. It means standing for freedom and equality, against domination and repressive rule, irrespective of the perpetrators, and against the glaring injustices he witnessed wherever he lived. His stance is deeply anchored in the poet’s belief that this world, this earth, is a commons that belongs to all of us and we all belong to, and we must all care for it, if we are to avoid what we call today a tragedy of the commons.
Abu Madi often deploys natural imagery and analogies from the natural world, which could be risky at times because natural and social affairs are not always comparable, and he makes us feel intimate with the flora and fauna, grateful for their giving. The language of his mature poems is close to the common language; their music is gentle, often folded in sadness, short meters, and constant questioning. In both form and content his poetry urges us to dwell poetically in this world.
The poet’s convictions, ideas, images, and moods, are manifested in his manifold themes: cities and places in general, natural environment, elegies for kin and public figures, love gained and lost and unrequited, homeland and adopted land, quasi-philosophical meditations, hope and despair. The same poem often straddles many of these instances, and it is difficult to disentangle them. Nonetheless, and for expository purposes, I examine three moments that occur frequently in his verse and bring into focus a wide array of his work that enables us to unpack key elements of his political imagination—these are the exilic/patriotic, the social, and the natural-environmental.
1. Exilic/ Patriotic
The lasting allegiance of Abu Madi and other mahjar poets to their distressed Arab world was first and foremost concretized in their writing in Arabic and their advocacy for the language and the promotion of the development of Arabic poetry. The contingent, or what he and others thought was contingent, was the nationalist question. And here he stood against Ottoman tyranny in the last years of empire and Western colonialism, evoked the suffering during the famine that gripped the region after World War I, all coupled with his love and longing for the first homeland, as immigrants often do. What one of his mahjar colleagues, Nasib A`rida, who issued the magazine, al-Funun, (The Arts) said of himself in his poem, “Song of the Immigrant,” could apply easily to Abu Madi,
I am the immigrant with two Is
one walks in lockstep with me
one is mortgaged to the homeland.
This is the duality that the immigrant, the exile lives in; the way home is through the foreign. When he went to visit Lebanon, Abu Madi said, “I had believed I could live in one country.”
He was an Arab patriot, you can say, and composed many poems that decried France’s occupation of Lebanon and Syria, and England’s of Egypt and Palestine. This sentiment is evident in the titles of a fair number of poems, such as: “Voice from Syria,” “My Homeland,” “Palestine,” “Lebanon,” and “When Will the Sleepy Remember the Homeland.”
In Egypt he wrote an elegy for a leader of the Egyptian nationalist movement, Mustafa Kamel, and a poem for the imprisoned leader Shaykh Abd al-Aziz Jawish. The Shaykh’s writings had a great influence on Abu Madi, according to George Selim. Abu Madi also penned poems for Palestine and against the Balfour declaration and about Nakba. He devoted an elegy for the Syrian leader Yousef al-A`thma who fell in the battle of Maysalun against the French in 1920, which opened the way for French colonial rule. In one poem, “My Homeland,” for Lebanon and Syria, he described his inability in New York to close his eyes to the images of dejected Syria, under assault by the French troops. Toward the end he appealed to the Arabs, “Save Syria.” He repeated this as a refrain four times, then asked rhetorically at the end, “Where is Arab indignation?” (Diwan, pp. 261-66) An in another poem, he wrote, “I see sunny times in my home, will I be gone underground before they dawn?”
His allegiance to his origins was underlain by the deep love for the beauty of its landscape and for the people he grew up among, and to whom he thought he always mainly belonged. Our identities although not rigid are often rooted in place and memory, in the landscape that we grow up in, in our native tongue. When he went back to Lebanon to receive his honors, he penned his most memorable paean to Lebanon, “Home of the Stars”:
Home of the stars, look at me
do you recall who I am?
I am the boy whose world began here
climbing the trees without boredom or fatigue
muddling through the winter mud singing hallelujah
how he often acted naughtily
so people could call him rogue.
I am a nightingale of your birds
who sang of your glory and so prospered
at night he is a man praying
and the muezzin heralding the dawn.
(Diwan, pp. 736-7)
“Home of the stars,” sung by the iconic Fairuz, is still a reference among Lebanese to their country. The poem is redolent of praise and love of his birthplace and the beauty of its landscape, to which he owed and dedicated his poetry grateful for its offerings. And his unifying words of Christian and Muslim are but an instant of his and his mahjar colleagues against sectarianism, which often plagued that country.
And the same theme of the country’s beauty and its being his poetic font pops up again and again:
They asked him What is beauty?
He said She is the temple
He said She is the throne.
(Diwan, p. 793)
On the social question, Abu Madi held what we think of today as progressive views. Another mahjar poet George Saydah, in a volume that I think is worth translating for its encompassing scope and eyewitness accounts, called him a socialist-humanist. This is reasonable if humanism is not meant as human-centric, and is much more convincing than a book-length argument by Fawwaz Tuqan that the mahjar poets, including Abu Madi, adhered to the school or ideology of Russian socialist-realism under the influence of Naimy.
Perhaps the main blind spot in his political imagination was Abu Madi’s gender outlook. He had a traditional respect and reverence for the woman as a sister, wife and mother, but saw her place as being in the home. Here the miserable working conditions at the time may be adduced as having an effect on his thinking; he saw the woman as a delicate and beautiful being not meant for the hardships of the factory. He expresses this directly in plain language in “Daughter of Syria”:
She is either a pregnant commodity
bearing another commodity
or a machine in a factory….
They burdened her with the hardest chores
when she was made only for the house
(Diwan, pp. 568-70)
Otherwise, Abu Madid protested in many poems the division of the world into classes of rich and poor, mocked the haughtiness that often comes with wealth and power, and saw the world, as I mentioned before, as a commons, stating in an essay:
Life is a field, doesn’t give grains or legumes or anything else, unless the farmers care for it, and protect it from accidents and diseases; and we are all responsible for this field, because it belongs to all of us.
In the opening line of “Who Desires Wine Must Plant the Vine” he says:
Take what you can from this life and the living
but please learn a little how to give back.
(Diwan, p. 799)
And in a wide-ranging poem, “My Book,” that is more inclusive and richer in imageryhe forwards his belief that all must get a share of the fruits:
My religion chose the brook for a likeness
the birds come thirsty to it
nor does it keep the camel at bay
and the wolf itself bathes in its water.
(Diwan, p. 600)
He stood with the vulnerable, with the orphans, and the poor, and he said this in parables and directly, as indicated by the titles of a fair number of poems, “The Poet and the Unjust King,” “The Poor One,” “Maid,” “Idiot,” “The Orphan,” and “Small Stone.”
Perhaps this stance is rooted in his growing up poor, as exemplified by his moving elegy, “My Father”:
The earth folded part of me
when it folded you
and from my eyes flowed
the rest of me.
You saw life without joy
like a parched soil
like a voice without melody
the hurts were all yours
and laughter and merriment for neighbor and companion.
You dared against the unjust
gave without showing off
and spoke like a keen poet
precise in empathy
in taste and in art.
(Diwan, p. 730)
This is further underlined in Abu Madi’s view of the poet’s function:
He lives for the good of others
not, as some might think, for his own.
(Diwan, p. 414-17)
Abu Madi wasn’t without wit in his poetry and prose and could cast a slanted gaze at the direst situation; for example, A`fif Hatum tells how important our poet said he felt during the Great Depression when he was told that a big bank was indebted to him.
No matter how long he lived in the United States and its cities, people, natural environment and culture all entered his poetry, he did not, as he did in his poems about Arab countries, promulgate a political vision for America as Whitman had done, for example, in his:
Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.
That he eschewed such an undertaking, I think, is understandable and can be attributed to his “positionality.” For one thing, Abu Madi wrote in Arabic and was not known to American readers, unlike Gibran who switched to English. The intrepid Gibran wanted his work to appeal to the human-in-general, in a way transcending national or even concrete reality, and met his stunning success through his book, The Prophet. Further, Abu Madi was not part of the Euro-American elite who were charting the country’s course; to the contrary, he hailed from a region colonized by Europe. Apart from these, an immigrant poet may not feel he has a sufficient grasp of the history, culture, and pulse of the adopted place that would enable him to articulate sweeping political prescriptions in verse.
That said, he could project his political view on a general philosophical scale, as he did in his long, meditative poem, The Clay:
The clay has forgotten for a moment
that he is only clay
and when silk covered his body
and his briefcase filled with cash
he became contentious and vain
he became rebellious.
Brother, don’t look away from me,
I am not a charcoal and you are not a shining star
you are like me, fellow man,
from earth and back to earth
why the arrogance? Why the aversion?
(Diwan, pp. 316-17)
Again, and as in the preceding two categories of political imagination, he wanted to make us feel, make us see; he argued; and he always asked questions.
His poems induce in the reader a feeling of intimacy with nature and the earth, as the word earth itself is repeated so many times, not as a metaphor but as reality that brings us forth, nourishes us, and summons us back. Poetry is “the song of the Earth,” affirmed Jonathan Bates in his eponymous book, and Abu Madi’s poems sing the Earth. Abu Madi believed that non-human nature, from the drop of water to the smallest animals, had spirit and had agency, called us, and prescribed for us, and that we lived in continuous circuits of the human and non-human. These understandings of nature have many adherents in the world today in all spheres of thought.
Apart from portraying nature as the center of our existence and of our activity, Abu Madi’s verses make us intimate with it. The desert, which is seen often as wilderness, he made close to us, as in the poem, Los Angeles:
All seasons here are a good-natured spring.
As I tried to tally their beauty
I felt like a child stemming the sea
with his fingers.
And I loved even the barbed shrubs in the desert
and loved the puffed-up palm tree
rushing callously toward the sky—
this Adam of the trees
who felt shame and draped himself
when he recognized he was bare.
(Diwan, pp. 434-36)
Here he tells of his fondness even for the humble shrubs of the desert. The palm tree, he describes in human terms as the “Adam of the trees,” and makes us follow its tall trunk as it rose until it became self-conscious and ended with its own fig leaf. Elsewhere he lures us to listen to the raindrops and to different species of birds singing, and to gaze at the hard earth and distant stars.
Despite living in New York, or perhaps because of that he loved nature, and was happiest when he had a chance to be away in the woods and mountains. In one poem he describes the hilarity and enthrallment he and fellow hikers felt hurtling down a mountain, while engaged in what was for them a novel activity. But then he also grew up in a village, and you often see meadows and clear skies in his poems. He had also spent years in Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea, and been in the mountainous Cincinnati before settling in New York. His evocations of nature and his care for it thus were not just a theoretical or intellectual conclusion; they stemmed from his lived experience as well.
A wonderful image that perhaps distills Abu Madi’s asking us to tread lightly is found in in these lines from “The Denuded Forest,” one that was cleared for the construction of human dwellings. The poem also recalls a lost love, and ends up being a celebration of both love and the diverse life that populate the woods with a profusion of imagery and vocabulary:
Above hung the long plaited boughs
if we shook them abruptly
they would drop their pearls in fright.
(Diwan, p. 802)
To close, I will recall a story from the diary of the Greek poet George Seferis about how he reversed the last lines of his celebrated poem, The Thursh, after reading about an encounter between the Japanese poet Basho (1644-1694), who brought the Japanese Haiku poem into its modern form, and a student of his, Kikakou. The story goes something like this:
Kikakou one day came to show the master a haiku he had just composed:
Remove the wings—
After reading it, Basho said, “We shouldn’t abuse God’s creatures. You must reverse” the haiku:
A pepper tree
add wings to it—
Iliya Abu Madi, in his life and in his poetry, in his words and images, gave wings to all creatures, human and non-human. That is enough reason to celebrate this great poet.
 This essay is a slightly edited version of a keynote address I gave 3 May 2018 at the Arab Studies, Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis honoring Iliya Abu Madi. Special thanks to Suad Joseph, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Gender & Women Studies at the ME/SAS. I am also grateful to David Madey for providing some key biographical information about his great grandfather.
 Majmua`t al-rabita al-qalamiyya (the Pen Association), (with an Introduction by Mikhail Nua`yma) (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Sadir for printing and publishing and dar Beirut for printing and publishing, 1964).
 I relied for the biographical material and his early development mainly on “A Study of Iliya Abu Madi The Major Poet of al-Mahjar” (in Arabic) by Zuhayr Mirza in Diwan, pp. 15-92 which introduces Diwan; and George Selim, Iliya Abu Madi (1889-1957): Articles About his Life and Unknown Poems (in Arabic) (Cairo, Egypt: Dar al-maa`rif bi-masr, 1977).
 His birth date is not known precisely, and falls between 1889 or 1891, depending on the source.
 All citations from Abu Madi’s poetry are from Diwan Iliya Abu Madi: shai`r al-mahjar al-akbar (Diwan of Iliya Abu Madi: the Major Poet of the Mahjar). Preface by Sami al-Dahan, introduction by Gibran Kahlil Gibran, and Commentary by Zuhair Mirza (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-a`wda).
 Diwan,15-20; and Selim, Iliya, 82-90 a
 Federico Garcia Lorca, Deep Song and Other Prose (Christopher Maurer, editor and translator) (New York, NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1980) 42-53.
 Quentin Andersen, The Imperial Self: an Essay in American Literary and Cultural History (New York, NY: Knopf, 1971).
 R.C. Ostle, “The Romantic Poets,” M.M. Badawi, Modern Arabic Literature (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, vol. 3, 2006) 103.
 Alfred Khuri, Iliya Abu Madi: Shai`r al-jamal wa-al-tafau’l wa-al-tasau’l (Iliya Abu Madi: Poet of Beauty, Optimism and Questioning) (Beirut, Lebanon: Bayt al-hikmah, 1968).
 Cited in Issa Boullata, “Iliya Abu Madi and the Riddle of Life in His Poetry,” in Journal of Arabic Literature 17 (1986): 73-4.
 Boullata, 74.
 Farid Juha, “Fi al-thikra al-mia’wiyya liwiladat Nasib A`rida, kali’nsan, wa-al-sahafi, wa-alshai`r” (First Centennial of the Birth of Nasib A`rida: the Human Being, Journalist, and Poet,” 78. http://www.arabacademy.gov.sy/uploads/magazine/mag63/mag63-1-5.pdf
 Selim, Iliya.
 George Saydah, Adabuna wa-udabu’na fi al-mahajir al-amrikiyya (Our Literature in the Mahjar of the Americas) (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-i`lm lil-malayin (Third Edition, Revised), 1964).
 Fawwaz Tuqan, Asrar al-rabita al-qalamiyya wa-a`laqat u’dabi’ha bi-alfikr al-ishtiraki…. (Secrets of the Pen Association and the Relationship of Its Members to Socialist Thought….) (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-talia` lil-al-tibaa` wa-al-nashr).
 A`fif Hatum, Iliya Abu Madi: hayatuhu, shi`ruhu, wa-nathruh (Iliya Abu Madi: His Life, Poetry, and Prose) (Beirut, Lebanon: dar Hatoum liltibaa` wa-alnashr wa-altwzi`, 1994) 73
 Ibid, 33.
 George Seferis, A Poet’s Journal: Days of 1945-1951 (translated by Athan Anagnostopoulos) (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1974) 59.