Ahmed Fouad Negm (Arabic: أحمد فؤاد نجم,
pronounced [ˈæħmæd foˈʔæːd ˈneɡm]; 22 May 1929 – 3
December 2013), popularly known as el-Fagommi الفاجومي
([elfæˈɡuːmi]), was an Egyptian vernacular poet. Negm is well
known for his work with Egyptian composer Sheikh Imam, as well as his
patriotic and revolutionary
Egyptian Arabic poetry. Negm has been
regarded as "a bit of a folk hero in Egypt."
1 Early life
2 Negm-Imam Duo
6 External links
Ahmed Fouad Negm was born in Sharqia, Egypt, to a family of fellahin.
His mother, Hanem Morsi Negm, was a housewife, and his father Mohammed
Ezat Negm, a police officer. Negm was one of seventeen brothers. Like
many poets and writers of his generation, he received his education at
the religious Kutaab schools managed by El-Azhar.
When his father died, he went to live with his uncle Hussein in
Zagazig, but was placed in an orphanage in 1936 where he first met
famous singer Abdel Halim Hafez. In 1945, at the age of 17, he left
the orphanage and returned to his village to work as a shepherd.
Later, he moved to
Cairo to live with his brother who eventually
kicked him out only to return to his village again to work in one of
the English camps while helping with guerilla operations.
After the agreement between
Egypt and Britain, the Egyptian National
Workers’ Movement asked everyone in the English camps to quit their
job. Negm was then appointed by the Egyptian government as a laborer
in mechanical workshops. He was imprisoned for 3 years for
counterfeiting form, during which he participated and won first place
in a writing competition organized by the Supreme Council for the
Arts. He then published his first collection “Pictures from Life and
Prison” in vernacular
Egyptian Arabic and became famous after Suhair
El-Alamawi introduced his book while he was still in prison. After he
was released, he was appointed as a clerk in the organization for
Asian and African peoples. He also became a regular poet on Egyptian
Negm lived in a small room on the rooftop of a house in Boulaq
el-Dakror neighborhood. When he met singer and composer
Sheikh Imam in
Khosh Adam neighborhood, they became roommates and formed a famous
signing duet. Negm was also imprisoned several times due to his
political views, particularly his harsh criticism of Egyptian
presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser,
Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak.
The residence of
Ahmed Fouad Negm in the poorest neighborhoods of
Cairo, Egypt, exposed him to the most talented professionals such as
Sheikh Imam Eissa, impoverished poets and artists. But,
Sheikh Imam in
particular compensated Negm for the earlier rejection by his
orphanage-mate Abdel Halim Hafez.
In 1962, Negm was introduced to Imam by a friend who believed that the
two, poet Negm and composer Imam, could make a perfect duo. On the
first occasion, Negm noticed that Imam took over an hour to tweak the
strings of the
Oud before starting his first demonstration to the new
guest. Negm shouted "Allah" upon listening to Imam's singing and
playing the Oud. The blind Sheikh was equally longing for inspiring
words of the sort Negm had. That was the spark that lasted 30 years of
concerted writing by Negm, composing by Imam, and singing by the two
Negm was quick enough to sense that the blind Sheikh was a hidden
treasure of Islamic literacy and music talent, and with his physical
handicap, he could use the help of Negm's eyes and words. Hence, Negm
proposed to stay in Imam's residence. As he recounted, his other
rented room has properties worth 6 Egyptian pounds, thus if he threw
away the key for his other room, the landlord was required three
months before breaking into the room and possessing its content. Negm
took the risk, abandoned his rented room with its contents and stuck
Sheikh Imam from 1962 throughout 1995.
In 2007, Negm was chosen by the
United Nations Poverty Action as
Ambassador of the poor.
Ahmed Fouad Negm won the 2013
Prince Claus Awards
Prince Claus Awards for ‘Unwavering
In the early hours of 3 December 2013, Negm died at the age of 84 in
Cairo. Although he had been ill for a long time, publisher
Mohamed Hashem said Negm sounded fine the day before his death, but
remarked further that his voice was "a little heavy". Negm's
funeral took place in Al-Hussein Mosque, Cairo.
^ Slackman, Michael (13 May 2006). "A Poet Whose Political
Incorrectness Is a Crime". New York Times. Retrieved 4 December
^ El-Hewie, Mohamed F. (2013). Ahmed Fouad Negm. Egypt's Revolutionary
Poet. English-Arabic Translation. USA: Shaymaa Publishing. p. 13.
Egypt Mourns Revolutionary Satirical Poet Ahmed Fouad Negm".
Guardian Liberty Voice.
^ mlynxqualey. "
Ahmed Fouad Negm Wins 2013 Prince Claus Award for
'Unwavering Integrity'". Arabic Literature. Retrieved 7 September
^ El-Hewie, Mohamed F. (2013). Islam Facts and Fiction And The Fight
For Egypt. USA: Shaymaa Publishing. p. 246.
^ Daily News
Egypt (10 September 2013). "Prince Claus Fund Award goes
to Ahmed Fouad Negm". Daily News Egypt.
^ Hamza Hendawi Ahmed Fouad Negm, Egypt’s ‘poet of the people,’
dies at 84 The Washington Post 4 December 2013
Egypt bids farewell to people's poet Negm". Al Jazeera. 3 December
2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
^ "Iconic Egyptian poet
Ahmed Fouad Negm dies aged 84". Al-Ahram. 3
December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
^ "Egypt's 'poet of the people'
Ahmed Fouad Negm dies at 84". The
Guardian. Associated Press. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December
A study of the vernacular poetry of Aḥmad Fuʼād Nigm / by Kamal
Abdel-Malek. Abdel-Malek, Kamal.Leiden ; New York : E.J.
Rawafed: documentary interview
Ahmed Fouad Negm "part one"
Rawafed: documentary interview
Ahmed Fouad Negm "part two"
ISNI: 0000 0001 2237 866X
BNF: cb12222737z (da