Poetry As Propaganda

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Oxford academic Elisabeth Kendall has found that poetry may be a major recruitment tool for militant jihadis in the Middle East. Although poetry is often sidelined in Western cultures, it is still important in Arab-speaking nations, where a reality TV show called Millions Poet gets more views than sports events:

“The language of poetry emulates the language in which the Qu’ran was revealed … jihadist publications make liberal use of poetry from the classical heritage, which they largely fail to attribute, but which listeners might find faintly familiar from oral tradition,” [Kendall] says. “The beauty of the language, solemn intonation, pattern and rhythms found in more classical poems, could not fail to impress.”


Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at kellylynnthomas.com. More from this author →