Huda Fakhreddine on ‘Arabic Modernism’s Other Tradition’

Prof. Huda J. Fakhreddine, Assistant Professor of Arabic literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on modernist movements or trends in Arabic poetry:

The author of Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition is at work on a new book. Glimpses of it can be found in Jacket2 magazine in a series called “Arabic Modernism’s Other Tradition.”

The series is set to run through the end of March, biweekly or, Fakhreddine says, “more frequently if possible.” She has published three so far, with five or six more to come. Forthcoming posts “will shed light on Sa’ada, Barakat, Hajjar, and a host of younger prose poets.”

The introduction to the series interrogates the Arabic prose poem:

Described as an oxymoron, a non-genre, an anti-genre, a miracle, and denigrated as a bastard form, a lack, a gap, a deformation, and even a conspiracy, the Arabic prose poem has persisted. It represents a subversive oppositional and uncompromising strand of the Arabic modernist movement, an “other tradition” as I am calling it here. In this series of commentaries, I will offer some observations of the works of early prose poets who launched this project in the early 1960 as well as contemporary poets writing today. These poets are not a homogenous trend or a movement or a school. They oppose, echo, build on, and converse with each other in a manner that reveals the prose poem to be an experimental critical space in which Arabic poetry and its possibilities are interrogated.

The three posts up so far:

A poem in Arabic, not an Arabic Poem

The language of poetry: not a body but a wound

Muhammad al-Maghut’s poetics of nonchalance

Also read: Teaching with Arabic Literature in Translation: Seminars in Poetry and the Free Verse Movement


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