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Nabati Poetry in the Arabian Desert

For centuries, Nabati poetry has been a touchstone of identity and tribal values in the Arabian Peninsula. NYU Abu Dhabi Senior Humanities Fellow Marcel Kurpershoek, a former Dutch diplomat, traveled to the Arabian desert in the 1980s to record oral poetry and stories with the Bedouin people.

Children of War and Diplomacy in Syria

Marcel Kurpershoek and Thomas Fletcher, two experienced scholars/diplomats, discuss the war in Syria, ways to provide education to children displaced by war, and the role that digital diplomacy can play in the future.

In the News

A Dutchman's quest to translate Bedouin poetry takes him to Ras Al Khaimah
Marcel Kurpershoek is seeking to understand the 17th century writings of folk hero Ibn Dhaher for an English-language book.
The National | March 08, 2020

The Poems of the Story
Marcel Kupershoek is featured in an episode of a new poetry program. The subject of his episode is on Humeidan al-Shuway'ir, an early 18th-century satirical poet. The program will feature six poets.
Al Arabiya (in Arabic) | March 17, 2018

Marcel Kurpershoek on Translating 18th-century Nabati Poetry That Still ‘Smells Like Fresh Bread’
In this first part of their discussion, Kurpershoek touches on the relationship between this poetry and pre-Islamic works; how it illuminates life in the eighteenth-century Najd; what we know about Hmedan’s life; and how his poems live on in contemporary Central Arabia.
Arabic Literature (in English) | December 4, 2017

Marcel Kurpershoek on Translating 18th-century Nabati Poetry That Still ‘Smells Like Fresh Bread’
Marcel Kurpershoek, editor-translator of Hmedan al-Shweʿir’s Arabian Satire: Poetry from 18th Century Najd, first became acquainted with Nabati poetry in the 1980s, while working as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia, and soon was drawn to the diwan of Hmedan, “maybe the No. 1 poet” in the Nabati tradition.
Library of Arabic Literature | December 4, 2017