Battle Lines is an essay by academics Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel in The New Yorker on the poetry of jihadis, especially those who follow the Islamic State. They argue that the way to understand them is to study their cultural products, especially poetry, which is part of their daily socialization, as discussed in this video. Poetry has a special status in the Arab world. Elisabeth Kendall explores that context in her essay Yemen’s al-Qa'ida and Poetry as a Weapon of Jihad. Jihadi poetry is closely linked to the nasheed tradition of songs which are usually sung a capella. Behnam Said traces their history in the essay Hymns ( Nasheeds): A Contribution to the Study of the Jihadist Culture.
"Maqamah is an old story in prose interspersed with poetry about the hero who is involved in different adventures. Towards the end of the story he disappears to show up in another guise in the next Maqamah (maqamah is singular from maqamat). So Maqamat is the collection of separate stories with unity in subject. Hariri’s Maqamat is one of the outstanding literary works of Arabic literature written in the 5th century." This is the introduction to an article on Hariri's Maqamat. You can read an English translation online in The Assemblies Of Al Hariri, Vol. I, translated by Thomas Chenery M.A. (1867) and Vol. II, translated by Dr. F. Steingass (1898), both on Archive.org. Hariri's Maqamat is heavily influenced by Hamadhani's Maqamat, considered to be the first collection of such writings, is also translated online (also on Archive.org). Both works include footnotes from the translators.
IPAF (International Prize for Arabic Fiction) is a new prestigious $50,000 literary prize managed the Man Booker Prize in London and sponsored by Abu Dhabi's1 crown prince of the United Arabs Emirates. The inaugural winner was announced on March 10: Baha Taher's Sunset Oasis (shortlist). English translations appear to be unavailable although some are in the works. This is the first international prize for Arabic literature, and it has stirred up some passions. [more inside]