almutanabbi1I recently re-discovered this beautiful video with a reading which inspired me to go on a search for Mutanabi sites and readings. The video is from one of his most famous poems and ends on perhaps the most famous line of Mutanabi (915 – 965):

الخَيْلُ وَاللّيْلُ وَالبَيْداءُ تَعرِفُني وَالسّيفُ وَالرّمحُ والقرْطاسُ وَالقَلَمُ

The desert knows me well, the night, the mounted men/The battle and the sword, the paper and the pen

More on Mutannabi readings:

The Princeton Online Poetry project has a translated version of Al-Mutanabbi to Sayf al-Dawla with audio in Arabic, read by Samer Traboulsi.

The Adab hub on Mutanabi has 19 pages of poems, the Poetsgate Abbasi hub has a long list of his poems as well. But the best resource in Arabic on Mutanabi I found is The Mutanabi Oasis which has multiple readings/explanations of each line from different people as well as readings. Another great resource is “The Interpretation of Mutanabi” an annotated version of the Diwan by Egyptian scholar ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Barquqi which is available to read online or download as pdf here.

As for in English, there’s A.J. Arberry’s translation, Poems of al Mutanabi. The introduction to the volume is really useful in putting Mutanabbi in context among detractors (Ibn Abbad) and admirers (al-Maari) alike.

Among the countless commentaries, Taha Hussein wrote “With al-Mutannabi.” And here’s a snippet of Hussein talking about the classical poets:

Taha Hussein – On Classical Arabic Poetry by poetictouch

There are some readings of Mutannabi on the same account, in a great playlist of Arabic poetry ranging from Qabbani and Darwish and Adonis to Joumana Haddad. Mutanabi has also been featured on Al Jazeera’s Qal As-Sha’er (The Poet Said) quite a bit, although the reading leaves something to be desired, the bombastic voice suits the bombastic poetry! But these snippets are a great introduction. A longer Qal As-Sha’er playlist including other poets here.

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