Abdulrahman Al-Ansi: A Towering Yemeni Colloquial Poet [Archives:2000/32/Culture]

August 7 2000

Saleh Abdulbaki
Yemen Times
Many a Yemeni poet excelled themselves in the art of colloquial poetry. They were able to express feelings, passions in the most simple and spontaneous way. Those poets were successful in forming a certain kind of coherence between people’s experiences in real life and the imaginative world of poetry through simple common however, most exquisite and magnificent images.
The poet Abdulrahhman bin Yahya al-Ansi (1168-1250 H) is one of the most distinguished of the ‘Humaini’ colloquial style of poetry, an artistic style of Sana’ani poetry. He spent most of his life in judiciary career and writing verse. Being an inherent poet, al-Ansi was able to compose magnificent verse about many Yemeni regions. He was a man of his time with a creative mind focusing on the colloquial poetry. He gained celebrity and was referred to as class ‘A’ in this style of poetry. His poems were highly appreciated and approved of by the people who out of their mounting excitement and admiration used to refer many great traditional poems to him. He made two anthologies; one the ‘Humaini’ verse while the other on the standard verse. Scholars and literary figures such as the judges Abdulrahman bin Yahya al-Aryani and Abdullah Abdulilah were very interested and excited in studying his ‘Humaini’ collection making them conduct a thorough explanation of his book. Their imprisonment after the abortive uprising of 1948 had actually made things easier in their difficult life for they met with many outstanding poets who were imprisoned too. These poets helped them a lot in referring many colloquial expressions to their original dialects in different parts of Yemen.
Abdulrahman al-Ansi was a genius Yemeni poet in the Homaini and standard forms of poetry. His popularity came from his colloquial poems which later led to a growing interest in his poetry.
His love poetry was the most exciting thing in his verse. He used to depict the lover who stops at nothing and takes risks to reach his beloved’s lodging.
His poems were sung by many Yemeni singers and are still receiving the same popularity. His two works are still widely studied and read. His ‘Humaini’ or colloquial collection was first published in 1369 Hejirah and then in Beirut in 1978. One of his greatest poems is “Ahebat Rubou Sana’a” meaning those who love land of Sana’a.
In short, Abdulrahman al-Ansi was a class by himself in the Humaini form of poetry. So far and throughout 500 hundred years his poetry has been attaining the same vigor and vitality. This bears a testimony to the greatness of this poet.