Mahri Poetry Archive



Poems that are essentially sentimental fall into two further sub-categories: specified referent and non-specified referent.  The purpose behind this bifurcation is to make the complexity (and ambiguity) of the sentimental category more legible.  For one, sentimental poems in which the love-object (“the referent”) is specified – that is, known by name to the intended audience –  tend to be more common in the traditional poetic practice of al-Mahra.  Sentimental poems in which the love-object is not specified, either through social decorum or because the love-object is merely an abstraction – tend to be more recent compositions and are imitative of cosmopolitan Arabic lyric poetry.  Sentimental poems with a named referent share an important similarity with occasional poems since both address a specific reality outside of the poet’s aesthetic imagination.  On the other hand, poems without a specified referent may be completely imaginary and figurative and are therefore a departure from traditional Mahri poetry.


Specified Referent

Non-specified Referent


Sites DOT MiddleburyThe Middlebury site network.