Arab Poets and Culture: A Deep History Filled with Arabic Poetry

Dina Sarayra 12/27/2021
Arab Culture

The Arabic language is very rich and in fact, is one of the hardest languages to learn! It’s so beautifully complex and yet simple. But with a language as beautiful and rich as this, don’t you think the poets would utilize it? Or even express ideas in ways never before? That is truly the work of Arab poet, such as Al-Mutannabi and Abu Nuwas. Even today, we have famous Arab poets. Specifically Palestinian poets, they continue to enrich the language and the audience with their talent.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

A long time ago in the Arabian Peninsula, Arabs used to challenge each other with Arabic poems orally. Think about how African Americans use rap as an outlet to express and educate. This is very similar! Arabic is a culture filled with prose and oral philosophy and wisdom. While this doesn’t exist as much in the Arab world today, the language is still very rich and Arabic poetry is still very much popular.

Nowadays, people write contemporary Arabic poems and poetry. However, they write about where they live, be it in the Diaspora, or at home, or in a refugee camp etc. What is more, the past few decades has seen a rising development of technology that allows people everywhere to cross world wife borders and access what they would not have otherwise able to access.

It allows them to read about other cultures, and even read and understand other cultures’ poems. So, let’s take a moment to talk about Arabic poems!

Another Angle

Poems are a way to express personal journeys. Also, it’s a way to relate to the world in a way that hadn’t been before. It is a way to capture ones’ attention to details that would we would otherwise miss by as average individuals, and to think and relate to the world similarly. Arab poets used to write poetry in a number of ways, namely modern ode, classic ode, and a free prose. Arabic literature dates all the way back to the 6th century.

Pre-Islamic Arabia

In pre-Islamic Arabia however, they used to orally express poetry. Today, it constitutes as a major source for Arabic vocabulary and grammar! That’s crazy, huh? They were very competent in their language despite not having a regular schooling system as we do today. But even today, Arab poets are very passionate and defensive of what they stand for. For example, the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has a famous poem called ‘Write down! I am an Arab!’

He had written this poem right after his release from the Israeli jails back in the 1960’s. Till today, Mahmoud Darwish and many other Palestinian poets are very popular and loved by Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike. Al Mutannabi is one of the very popular Arab and Iraqi poets. People consider him as the greatest Arab poet to have ever lived! There are surely so many and so much about Arab poets and poetry that you can learn about and should definitely take a moment to appreciate. The Arabs were ahead of their time not just technologically but also linguistically. 

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