31 January 2015

'How are you supposed to start a stanza with 'mule'?'

Zajal: When Competitive Poetry Was a Better Sport Than Soccer

'Basically one poet — and know that we all considered ourselves poets — would recite a stanza, usually loaded with couched or open insults against his opponent. The opponent would fire back with a stanza, flipping the insults back on the first person. Now here is the kicker: whenever someone responds, they must start with the last word of the stanza that was just thrown at them. What’s more: the response had to follow the same set meter and rhyme.'

More televised competitive poetry: Egyptian poet Hisham el-Gokh's 'An Honest View of Liberation Square' from 2011's round of 'Prince of Poets' (!).

4 January 2015