[P4794] Form and Language in Arabic Poetics

Created by Huda J. Fakhreddine
Sunday, 11/19/17 8:00am


Modernist Arabic poetics has been singularly concerned with form. Refusing, inverting, transforming, and divesting itself of its relation to classical Arabic poetic conventions, forms, and terms, Arabic poetry has turned, perhaps, to the singular vehicle of its expression: language. This panel explores the relation between language and form in modern and classical Arabic poetry through an investigation of the complexity of this gesture of refusal and the turn toward language it implies. We focus on this double-locus—language and form—because, to the extent that someone refuses something, this implies a relation that doesn’t simply end, but that remains, if in opaque and unpredictable ways. One does not simply refuse, but must continue to do so, and this continuing implies an ongoing negotiation—a relation that compels sustained examination, and that requires a considered attention to language. This panel explores this negotiation by turning to language as a question, practice, inheritance, and temporal and poetic form. The papers in this panel consider the relation between modernist, prose-poetic form in the work of Muh?ammad al-M?gh?t (1934-2006) and his declining to explicitly theorize, and therefore to abstract and summarize, his linguistic and poetic procedure; examine the Kurdish poet Sal?m Barak?t (b. 1951) and his abuse of language as a poetic practice, and as a way of interrogating, enacting, and destabilizing poetic form; study the poet Ab? al-?Al?? al-Ma?arr? (d. 449/1058) in relation to his intensified turn toward form and classical Arabic poetry in his mature poetic writing, and considers this turn in relation to the turn from prosody in modernist Arabic poetics; and read the poet Kh?lid al-Ma‘?l? (b. 1956) in relation to his interrogation of language as a question, and his destabilization of language as a communicative practice in relation to poetic form. In each case, the relation between poetics and form is considered, and poetry is read in relation to the reflection on language it compels. Rather than something that can simply be presumed to transport thought or lived historical or human experience, language becomes problematized in this poetic writing, as a material and formal event that does not simply yield to interpretive scrutiny.





Suzanne P. Stetkevych

(Georgetown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Jeffrey Sacks

(University of California, Riverside)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Mohammad Salama

(San Francisco State University)
I received my PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2005, with a focus on postcolonial Egyptian literature and peripheral modernities. I was born in Alexandria, Egypt where I spent all my childhood and adolescent years....
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;

Huda J. Fakhreddine

(University of Pennsylvania)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Esraa Al-Shammari

(University of Pennsylvania)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;