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Tinker

Zajal

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Tinker

Explore the Craft of Writing
Arabic Verse

Zajal meaning "shout", is a spontaneous short verse that is sometimes called the common man's verse. It is often sung in a series of zajals, each zajal acts as a strophe within the poem as a whole and the rhyme pattern changes from stophe to strophe. Each zajal can stand alone. It was created in Moorish Spain in the 9th century and there is a Spanish variation on the form, the Zéjel. Some attribute the Zajal to Muqaddam Ibn Mu afa al-Qabrim, the creator of the muwashsha, others give credit to Moorish philosopher and musician of Zaragoza, Ibn Bajja, also known as Avempace. Early Provencal epics were modeled after the zajal.

Few ancient Zajals are preserved in writing since even today it remains primarily an oral tradition. It is thought by some to be the first form of the muwashshah. The Cordovan poet Ibn Quzman, l080 - 1160 one of the most recognized poets of the Middle Ages wrote a book which included 150 zajaIs, poems of love, wine and the other pleasures.

In Lebanon today the oral tradition continues and the zajal is popularly used between 2 poets or groups of poets exchanging creative insults, a kind of poetic joust.

I have yet to find an example of the structure but according to sources, the number of lines is variable, (only a few lines per zajal). (When written in a series of zajals the rhyme changes from strophe to strophe. therefore probably mono-rhymed. ) Traditionally Arabic lines are long 12 to 32 syllables, often written in 2 hemistiches so to apply this to the zajal would probably be pretty safe.

Arabic Poetic Genres and Forms


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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