Poet, intellect, and prominent writer, Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Maqaleh, who was considered a pillar of the Arabic culture, and an esteemed professor who taught thousands of Yemenis over the past six decades, passed away on Monday, aged 85. The news of his death shocked Yemenis and the cultural world in Arab countries.
Abdul Aziz al-Maqaleh has won many prizes.
The late poet received a PhD from the Ain Shams University, headed the Sanaa University and Yemen’s Center of Studies and Research, and then established the Yemeni Language Complex.
Maqaleh has over 35 works including poetry collections, and literary, critical, and intellectual studies. He left behind a massive heritage in cultural journalism, and had contributions in many Arabic magazines.
In the past years, the writer’s health deteriorated. Houthi militia leaders pressured him and intimidated him, but he preferred to isolate himself in his home and commit to his belief in the national and republican values.
After the announcement of his death, social media was flooded with personal and official mourning statements. The ministry of journalism and culture in the legitimate government said al-Maqaleh “belonged to Yemen in his thought, spirit, and identity, leaving behind thousands of loyal students who have continued his journey in all Yemeni regions.”
Al-Maqaleh was born in 1937 in the village of Maqaleh in the governorate of Ibb where he learned reading and writing, then he moved to Sanaa where he studied and graduated from the education institution in 1960. He also joined university in Egypt and got a PhD from the Ain Shams University in 1977, and then became a professor.
The Union of Yemeni Writers, which was co-established by the late poet, issued a mourning statement that praised al-Maqaleh, saying that “he spent most of his life serving the national cause, modern poetry, and serious criticism.”
“Yemen and the Arab world have lost one of the most esteemed poetry figures who enriched the modern Arabic poetry, and education,” it added.
“Al-Maqaleh left a great literary heritage for the coming generations. He will always be present in our memory and conscience, urging us more than ever to hold onto our country and its values of freedom, protecting the revolution and the republic, and fighting for the citizenship no matter how darkness and historic failures tried to bring us back,” Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed said in a statement.
Maqaleh won many awards including the Lotus Award for literary in 1986; the UNESCO Prize for Arab Culture in Paris, 2022; the Knight Award of the first degree in literature and arts from the French Government, 2003; and the Arab Culture Award, Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science, 2004.
Among his many works are ‘There Must be Sanaa’, ‘A Letter to Saif bin Dhi Yazan’, ‘Yemeni Footnotes On the Alienation of Ibn Zreik al-Baghdadi’, ‘The Return of Waddah Yemen’, ‘A Book of Sanaa’, ‘A Book of the Village’, ‘A Book of Bilqis and Poems to the Waters of Grief’, and ‘A Book of Cities Literary and Intellectual Studies’.