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(also shair, shakhir; in Turkmen, shakhir; in Tatar and Kazakh, shagi’yr), a poet-scribe among many peoples of the Near East. Among the peoples of Middle Asia, sha’irs continue to perform folktales, improvised poetry, and national heroic and romantic dastans. Unlike the bakhshi, who performs a memorized text, the sha’ir often changes or adds to the story, creating his own versions and sometimes even composing new dastans, for example, Khasan-kol by the Uzbek poet Pulkan-Shair (1874–1941). The sha’ir usually accompanies himself on a musical instrument, such as the dutar or saz.

Celebrated Uzbek sha’irs have included Ergash Dzhumanbulbul-ogly (1868–1937) and Fazyl Iuldash-ogly (1872–1955). Kermolla (1872–1934) and Durdy Klych (1886–1950) are among the renowned Turkmen sha’irs.