In the Arabian Peninsula before Islam (started 622 A.D.), Bedouin tribes roamed the land. With their roaming they developed a long, rich tradition of oral poetry. After the rise of Islam, many of the Arabian poetic forms were incorporated into the Koran and other Islamic writings. But as the writing of poetry shifted from the desert to the cities like Baghdad, Basra, and Aleppo, this oral tradition declined.
Fortunately, Islamic scholars copied and preserved the old poems of the desert, Michael Sells says in Desert Tracings: Six Classic Arabia Odes. Sells, a longtime professor of pre-Islamic and Islamic literature at the University of Chicago, has collected and translated six of the most famous Arabian odes. The collection opens a door to an oral poetic tradition little known in the West.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.