A tradition of modern Arabic poetry was established by writers such as Francis Marrash, Ahmad Shawqi and Hafiz Ibrahim.
The writings of Syrian poet and writer Francis Marrash (1836–73) featured the first examples of prose poetry in modern Arabic literature.
Gibran was also a great admirer of Syrian poet and writer Francis Marrash, whose works Gibran had studied at the Collège de la Sagesse.
During the Nahda, poets like Francis Marrash, Ahmad Shawqi and Hafiz Ibrahim began to explore the possibility of developing the classical poetic forms.
—Excerpt from Francis Marrash's Mashhad al-ahwal (1870), translated by Shmuel Moreh.
Most of these experiments were abandoned in favour of prose poetry, of which the first examples in modern Arabic literature are to be found in the writings of Francis Marrash, and of which two of the most influential proponents were Nazik al-Malaika and Iman Mersal.
In the 19th century, individual authors in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt created original works by imitating classical narrative genres: Ahmad Faris Shidyaq with Leg upon Leg (1855), Khalil Khoury with Yes... so I am not a Frank (1859), Francis Marrash with The Forest of Truth (1865), Salim al-Bustani with At a Loss in the Levantine Gardens (1870), and Muhammad al-Muwaylihi with Isa ibn Hisham's Tale (1907).