The blind Arab poet, philosopher and writer Al Maarri (973-1057) was a vegan before it was cool. An outlier, he held other unorthodox views for his time: he was irreligious, a rationalist and a pessimist. His poems are at once beautifully lyrical and philosophically profound. Testimony to the universal appeal of his work, his influence spans continents: a translated copy of his poetry was found in Franz Kafka’s library, and he was one of Khalil Gibran’s dearest poets.
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