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Tiempo Córdoba

Abn Quzman (poet)

Abn Quzman was born in Cordoba between 1070 and 1080, and hailed from an aristocratic Cordoban family.

Little is known of his childhood and youth, but in his own words "tall and fair with blue eyes, loose-living and unhappily-married, I was imprisoned and ill-treated because of my disregard for religious customs".

However, he learnt an enormous amount from his reading, and soon became an expert in law, philosophy, poetry and rhetoric. Instead of becoming just another poet or literary dilettante of his age, he preferred to be a "street voice" and express himself in short, vernacular verses which were easy to understand and sounded good. For this he was known as the King of the Andalusian Zejeleros (poets who wrote zejel). The zejel was a final verse, written in Mozarabic language, at the end of a classical Arabic or Hebrew poem. In the hands of Abn Quzman, it became passionate, raunchy poetry to accompany wine-drinking and gambling: real poetry for the masses.
He died in Cordoba in 1160.

Zejel XXIX

She wounded with her eyes my sensitive heart
and everyone saw the slit so narrow.
Some say ?twas a dagger; others a flick-knife;
these, a kitchen knife; those, an arrow.

Ayuntamiento de Córdoba