Mahri Poetry Archive

The Mahri Poetry Archive is an online resource dedicated to showcasing the poetic traditions of the Mahra, a semi-nomadic people of Southern Arabia who have maintained their indigenous, pre-Arabic language into the present era. The recordings contained in the Mahri Poetry Archive serve as the largest collection of poetry in the endangered Mahri language currently available to the scholarly community and the public, and the audio and visual component of the recordings foreground the oral and frequently extemporized nature of poetic performance amongst the Mahra. Each poem is accompanied by a transcription based on the International Phonetic Alphabet, a translation into English, lexical and grammatical annotation, and social and historical analysis. The poems contained in this archive are broadly representative of the different genres of Mahri oral poetry and originate from across the core Mahri-speaking territory of eastern Yemen and western Oman. The Mahri Poetry Archive thereby offers a comprehensive perspective on oral poetry in the Mahri language: from its most quotidian exemplars to the highly venerated tribal-historical ode.

Born to be Digital?

This site was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2011-2012) and a research fellowship from the American Institute for Yemeni Studies (2008-2009).

I would like to express my thanks to Rebekah Irwin, Director of Special Collections & Archives at the Davis Family Library at Middlebury College, for offering her technical expertise in constructing this site.  I would like to thank my student research assistants, Richard Chen and Dona Tatour, for digitizing and indexing all of the audio and video recordings, and Cassandra Wanna for her work on compiling a lexical index for the Mahri vocabulary.  The original tape cassettes and mini-DV tapes that I recorded between 2003-2008 are held at Special Collections, Davis Family Library, Middlebury College.

Please note: I am still in the process of editing and uploading content.  I apologize for any content-free pages or missing recordings.

Mahri or Mehri?



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