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"Hello, i say, and welcome! Where from, these riding men?" Arabic popular poetry and political satire: A study in intertextuality from Jordan

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Chapter Summary

In Arab literary studies, popular poetry, that is, poetry composed in a non-standard form of the language, remains a relatively unexplored reservoir of creative activity. There is evidence to suggest that the tradition of popular poetry in today's Bedouin society is far from dead; on the contrary, it seems to be transforming itself into a voice of socio-political commentary and criticism which transcends purely local tribal concerns and addresses regional and even international issues. The chapter presents a satirical poem, as well as many others, which could not be published in Jordan, and the poet ran into serious problems with the intelligence services at the time when his poetry first began to circulate informally some twenty years ago. Musa was well known for his popular nationalistic songs praising the army, national heroes, and the Hashemite dynasty as well as sentimental ditties for religious occasions.

Keywords: Arab literary studies; Arabic poetry; Bedouin society; Hashemite dynasty; Jordan



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