Poetry has always been central to Arabic cultural expression. Today it encompasses the whirlwind of events sweeping across the Middle East, serving to mourn tragedy, and to articulate political fantasies. Robyn Creswell, coauthor of the New Yorker article “Why Jihadists Write Poetry,” and Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail, who fled her country after being put on Sadaam Hussein’s enemies list, discuss poetry as a way to understand contemporary Arab society.

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