Nazik al-Mala'ika was born in Baghdad in 1923. Both a poet and a literary critic, she has published over fifteen volumes of poetry, prose, and criticism since her diwan appeared in 1947. Her second volume of poetry, Ashes and Shrapnel, published in 1949, helped to inaugurate formally the free verse movement, perhaps the most influential movement in modern Arabic poetry to date. Her innovative style and sharp critical sense have made her one of the Arab world's most well-known poets. Al-Mala'ika currenly resides in Cairo.