Sulaiman al‑Issa,the poet who Fought the French Mandate

 Sulaiman al‑Issa was born 1921 in the village of Noayriyeh ‑ Oronte orchards, situated 20 Km to the west of the historical Syrian  city of Antakya .

- He received his first education under the mulberry tree shadowing the house yard . He learned the Holy Qoran, the famous preislamic poems ( Mu’allaqat ) which were hung in the Holy Ka'ba , the famous Mutanabbi collection of poetry, and a great many other Arabic poems. The village had no other school but the traditional Kuttab , which was also the poet’s home . His father lived and taught there.

- He started writing poetry at the age of ten and his first collection described the misery and weariness of the peasants .

-  His primary education took place in Antakya. When he started school he was so advanced that he was placed immediately into the fourth class . By that time the district of Al ‑Liwa , which included Antakya, was in a stage of revolution due to the Arab inhabitants discovering the plan of the French (who had a mandate in Syria at this time) to separate the area from Syria and offer it to Turkey .

- During his fifth and sixth grades in Primary school his poetry contributed to the demonstrations  and national fight of his fellow ‑ citizens of Liwa Iskenderun.

- After the Turkish aggression on  his native district he emigrated  to other parts of Syria to continue with his friends, the fight against the French Mandate . He continued his education in secondary schools  at Hama ; Lattakia and Damascus . In that period of his life he experienced the bitterness of homelessness and began to realize the importance for him of fighting for Arab unity, independence and freedom .

- He shared in the foundation of the Ba'th party While  still at secondary school in Damascus

- After graduation he returned to Syria to take up a post as teacher of Arabic language and literature in a secondary school in Aleppo .

- He lived in Aleppo from 1947 to 1967 teaching, Writing and sharing in the national struggle

- In 1950 he married and had two sons and a daughter.

- In addition to Arabic and some Turkish ; he also speaks French and English .

- He has travelled extensively in the Arab world and has also visited many other countries .


In 1967 ,he started writing for children and made it his primary concern .

- His biography for children written in poetry and then in prose , was entitled ‘I am telling you my childhood , O small ones’ His second autobiography was ‘The child Waïl in his search for his homeland’.

- In October 1982 he received the Afro – Asian Writers’ Union Lotus Prize for poetry .

- In 1984, his poetical works for children received the price of the Arab League, Educatinal, cultural, and Scientific Organization.

- In 1990, he was elected as a member of the Arab Language Academy (Damascus).

- In 2000, he received The Babatin Prize for poetical creativity.


Books by the poet

-     The Poetical works (4 volumes), Beirut, al-Mu’assassa al ‘Arabiyya,   1995.

-      The path of a life time (Autobiographical Highlights, Beirut, al-Mu’assassa   al-Arabiyya, 1996.

-      Al-Thumâlât (5 volumes), General Institution for the Book, Sanaa, 1999,   2004, 2005.

      The Divan for children, Dar al-Fikr, Damascus, 1999.

-      The Divan of Yemen, General Institution for the Book, 1999.

-      The Divan of Palestine, Palestine’s House, Damascus, 1999.

-      The Divan of Algeria, Algiers, 1995.

-      The Divan of Lebanon, Ministry of culture, Damascus, 2006.

-      The Woman in my poetry, Abu Dhabbi, 1998.

-      Collections of Stories and tales for children, with his wife Malaka Abiad