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Bin Laden's prowess as poet examined

Sept. 21, 2008 at 3:12 PM

DAVIS, Calif., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Osama bin Laden's pre-Sept. 11, 2001, popularity and prowess as a poet is the subject of an upcoming academic work, a California professor says.

Before he was the world's most infamous terrorist, bin Laden was in great demand in the 1990s as a speaker at wedding banquets and other feasts, reciting skillfully written poems that were tape-recorded and passed around like pop music, The Times of London reported Sunday.

Such tapes recovered in 2001 from bin Laden's Afghanistan compound form the basis of a new academic work on Arabic poetry from Flagg Miller, who teaches at the University of California-Davis.

"(Bin Laden) frequently uses mountains as metaphors," Miller told the newspaper. "As borders, they separate Arabs from each other but mountains can also help them from the temptations of the secular world."

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