The Case of Rhyme versus Reason
Robert C. McKinney
The poetry of the extremely prolific and versatile ‘Abbāsid poet Ibn al-Rūmī is examined in this book. Part 1, The Poet, reconstructs the poet’s life and times providing the background for Part II, The Poetry, which traces the influences in Ibn al-Rūmī’s distinctive poetic style and themes. This provides a glimpse into a rather fluid period in Arabic literary history when the boundary between poetry and prose was becoming increasingly permeable, due to the emergence of the so-called “secretary-poets,” and to the prevalence and importance of the munāżarah, or disputation. Part III, The Poem, analyzes the poet’s celebrated 282-line poem commemorating the quashing of the Zanj rebellion. The towering architectonics and sophisticated organization of this poem provide an ideal opportunity to explore Ibn al-Rūmī’s poetic contribution.