Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Al-Mutanabbi In His Own Words" Lecture

By Yara Al Kaweesh, Yasmine Tawfik, Yara El Said

CAIRO, Egypt-  Dr. Adam Talib, assistant professor of Classical Arabic Literature in

the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations (ARIC), gave a lecture called "Al-

Mutanabbi In His Own Words," on Monday in the Rare Books and Special

Collections Library of the American University in Cairo.

 Talib started his lecture by introducing Al-Mutanabbi himself. He quoted

that he is "the most famous poet of Arabic literature in about 1400 years, he's much

more impressive than Shakespeare, so he's a big deal." He expressed that the reason

why he chose to talk about him is because how he is to many Iraqis a national and a

pan-Arab figure. 

Further in the lecture, Talib mentions the strong relationship between Al-

Mutanabbi and Saif Al Dawla. Al-Mutanabbi had a powerful dual rule during the

ruling of Saif Al Dawla, and was the official representative of that kingdom.

Talib also mentioned that Al-Mutanabbi received a lot of criticism for his

writings. People criticized his tendency of being paid for his poems. People also felt

that he did not write enough poems about love and praising the Prophet, yet focused

on praising the ruler. Therefore,Talib claims that people misunderstand the role

of poets in the society.

When Talib concluded his lecture, he received a great round of applause.

Some people started asking questions. Their main interest was why he chose to talk

about Al-Mutanabbi. Talib explained that it was because he is a pan-Arab figure

and that there is a larger exhibition called "Al Mutannabi Street Starts Here" where

he was responsible to talk about the person behind the street's name. This lecture

was part of "Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here" exhibition, which is part of an

international tour by a San Francisco-based project. The Rare Books and Special

Collections Library, AUC, is hosting this exhibition. The exhibition began on 5

March 2014 and will end on 30 August 2014, from Sundays to Thursdays at 10 a.m.

to 3:30 p.m.

Nadine Awadalla, an AUC student, who attended the lecture said "it was

really informative, the professor gave us a couple of examples of Al-Mutanabbi's

poetry and he talked about his influences." So the lecture seemed a success.

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