Creative Duet: Kahlil Gibran
April 27, 2011 § 8 Comments
“All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
And what an incredibly rich feast lay in the mind of this poet/philosopher/artist!
Best loved for The Prophet ~ (considered his greatest achievement, translated in more than 20 languages, and of real note, has never been out of print since its first publication in 1923) ~ Kahlil Gibran’s essays, parables and poems are some of the most inspirational and cherished works ever written.
Rarely has one individual written consistently with the depth, sensitivity, and mysticism of Gibran. He has literally touched millions of hearts with extraordinarily beautiful – yet very accessible – prose. His words rise from the soul, easily intermingling divinity and humanity. His wisdom is truly timeless.
Gibran’s path started early; his gifts publicly recognized while still in his teens. But that recognition was not for his writings. First, he was an artist …
Around the age of 15 his drawings were published on book covers, and by 21 his works were being exhibited in Boston galleries. A few years later, he was in Paris, studying with Auguste Rodin.
I find this really fascinating in light of the fact that Gibran’s youth (in Lebanon) was one of poverty, with no formal education – and that after emigrating to the U.S. in 1895, his mother raised the family alone by peddling lace and linens.
So how did his opportunity change so profoundly? He went to public school ~ nothing special there. The key seems to be that at the same time he also went to a local art school, where his artwork caught the eye of his teachers. A couple of those teachers had significant associations within the Boston community, and were compelled to open some fateful, well-connected doors for the young Gibran that inevitably lead to his success.
The simple fact that he arrived in this country at the age of 12 and was already making an artistic imprint during his teen years, speaks volumes about his remarkable abilities. And I’m one of countless who are no doubt grateful for the teachers who perceived greatness in their midst and opened those doors.
Gibran was one of the world’s most brilliant minds. Though known today for his writings, his talents manifested with equal eloquence and exquisiteness in both the visual and verbal realms ~ with expressions that will continue, indefinitely, to uplift, guide and reach the innermost spaces of people’s hearts.
“His power came from some great reservoir of spiritual life else it could not have been so universal and so potent, but the majesty and beauty of the language with which he clothed it were all his own.” ~ Claude Bragdon
Kahlil Gibran was born on January 6, 1883 in Lebanon (then a Turkish province of Syria). He died on April 10, 1931, in New York City. If you’re interested in learning more, resources about his life abound – and if by chance you haven’t read his works, particularly “The Prophet”, I urge you to do so!