Mahmud Bayram el-Tunsi

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Mahmud Bayram el-Tunsi (Arabic: بيرم التونسي‎; born in 1893 in Alexandria, Egypt - died 1961) was an Tunisian-Egyptian poet who was exiled from Egypt by the British for his nationalist poetry.

Bayram el-Tunsi received his education at religious (Muslim) schools. However, he learned the art of poetry by listening to oral presentations in the form known as zajal. In 1919, the year of the first Egyptian revolution, he began to publish his poetry in the journal Issues. These satirical ballads, based on the traditional zajal form, were critical of both the British occupation and the Egyptian monarchy, which was referred to as a puppet. This led to his exile from Egypt, which he spent in France and Tunisia. El-Tunsi returned to Egypt in 1938, where he continued to publish political poetry.

Bayram el-Tunsi coined the term Adab al-iscrif (the literature of rescue) to describe "the successful rejection of external threats, the reorientation and redistribution of power in society, and construction of a strong and independent nation."[1]

In addition to zajal, of which Bayram el-Tunsi was considered a master,[2] he was proficient with maqama which he preferred in much of his later output. Among those who have been influenced by Bayram el-Tunsi were Salah Jahin and Ahmed Fouad Negm.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Booth p. 12
  2. ^ Beinin p. 193


  • Booth, Marilyn L.(1990) Bayram al-Tunisi's Egypt: Social Criticism and Narrative Strategies (St. Antony's Middle East Monographs no. 22) Ithaca Press, Exeter, UK, ISBN 0-86372-088-9
  • Beinin, Joel (1994) "Writing Class: Workers and Modern Egyptian Colloquial Poetry (Zajal)" Poetics Today 15(2): pp. 191–215