A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Common and diverse features of women’s oral poetry

Issue 31
Common and diverse features of women’s oral poetry

Fatima Al-Dulaimi


Socio logists, anthropologists and other intellectuals have contemplated the evolution and development of world cultures. As a result, an anthropological theory known as ‘diffusionism’ was developed. Diffusionism’s supporters believe that discrete cultural traits are transferred from one society to another through migration, trade, war, or other contact.


Supporters theorised that diffusionism began in one cultural centre and spread to other parts of the world over time, but they disagreed on the geographic location of this centre. The concept of a ‘cultural circle’ emerged, allowing for the existence of a number of cultural centres in various parts of the world. Due to the meeting of different cultures, cultural circles emerged, and fusion and coalition resulted in the emergence of several forms.

However, the lack of written documents makes it hard to prove interactions between similar cultures. Similarities do not necessarily indicate that a direct interaction occurred, as they may be the result of social structure and human experiences.

In his book ‘Women’s Quatrains from Fez’, Mohamed Al Fassi writes that all these quatrains revolve around love, they express it with true spontaneity and the deep sentiment that inhabits lovers’ hearts, giving the verses a softness and beauty that make them different than any other literature in the world, except the songs of the Geisha, (female singers from Japan).

It is clear that the quatrains of the women of Fez are both captivating and beautiful, but anyone who studies Arab women’s oral poetry will notice:

• Poetry such as Landi, Hajini and Hufi Tilmisani are as beautiful as the poetry of the women of Fez, and similar in terms of context.

• Poetry from other areas is also characterised by a short structure of between one and two lines
• Short poems are not purely a women’s creation. Haiku, a Japanese poetic form associated with Zen philosophy, consists of one line divided into three parts. It captures an experience, and its brevity is a sign of wisdom and the value of silence.

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