Al Ryami Profile

The Guardian has a profile of Yemeni poet Ali Al Ryami, who was recently blacklisted in Oman for speaking out against human rights abuses.

Al Ryami’s background in experimental theatre has also played a major role in shaping his poetry, according to one of his translators, Hafiz Kheir. In the carefully composed work that Kheir has seen, “he often manages to create imaginary spaces of inner worlds, while retaining a restrained language that resists the temptation of ‘freewheeling lyricism’ that renders a lot of his contemporaries’ works either too vague or in some cases clearly ostentatious”.

Kheir places Al Ryami within contemporary Arabic Free Verse, a wide and diverse body of poetic endeavours which emerged in the early 1960s and helped to free modern Arab poets from the limitations of traditional forms.

I think the article is great. I just wish we would hear about Arab poets and writers all the time, not just when they’re banned or arrested or fatwa-ed.