Poetry

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Kahlil-GibranKahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran (born Gibrān Khalīl Gibrān bin Mikhā’īl bin Sa’ad; Arabic جبران خليل جبران بن ميخائيل بن سعد), (born January 6, 1883 in Bsharri, modern day Lebanon, which was part of Ottoman controlled Syria at the time; died April 10, 1931 in New York City, United States) was a Lebanese American artist, poet, writer, philosopher and theologian. He is the third-best-selling poet in history, after William Shakespeare and Laozi.

Gibran held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day’s studio. During this exhibition, Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, a respected headmistress ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship that lasted the rest of Gibran’s life. Though publicly discreet, their correspondence reveals an exalted intimacy. Haskell influenced not only Gibran’s personal life, but also his career. In 1908, Gibran went to study art with Auguste Rodin in Paris for two years. This is where he met his art study partner and lifelong friend Youssef Howayek. He later studied art in Boston.

Gibran died in New York City on April 10, 1931: the cause was determined to be cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis. Before his death, Gibran expressed the wish that he be buried in Lebanon. This wish was fulfilled in 1932, when Mary Haskell and his sister Mariana purchased the Mar Sarkis Monastery in Lebanon which has since become the Gibran Museum.

Gibran willed the contents of his studio to Mary Haskell. There she discovered her letters to him spanning twenty-three years. She initially agreed to burn them because of their intimacy, but recognizing their historical value she saved them. She gave them, along with his letters to her which she had also saved, to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library before she died in 1964. Excerpts of the over six hundred letters were published in “Beloved Prophet” in 1972.
To Kahlil Gibran Poems

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