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Chapter Summary

The oral poetry duel of the Palestinian wedding sahrah is rmly rooted in local practice. In fact, one can argue that the poetry duel exemplies most clearly relationships among poets, between poets and their audiences, between a poet and the literary tradition in which he or she is trained and sustained, and between composition and improvisation, relationships that have been the subject of intense interest for both medieval and modern Arab literary scholars. This chapter explores the art of poetry dueling in standard Arabic with particular reference to these relationships. Oral poetry dueling is by its nature an ephemeral art form. The Palestinian poet Sa?ud al-Asad? told me more than once that he had memorized the d?wan of Al-Mutanabb?, an exercise which he views as critical to his formation as a poet.

Keywords: Al-Mutanabbῑ; Arab literary scholars; Oral poetry dueling; standard Arabic



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