Sunday Submissions: On the Margins of Shi‘r: Rethinking Histories of Poetic Modernism in the Twentieth-century Arab World

Middle Eastern Literatures has opened its call for submissions for its special issue.

The publication of Shi‘r (Poetry) magazine by Yusuf al-Khal in 1957 had a tremendous influence on the development of modern Arabic poetry, but is often presented as the only influential magazine in the field of modern Arabic poetry and poetics. More recently, scholars have begun to investigate the contributions of other figures, magazines, and discussions that moved Arabic poetics away from classical prosody towards what has been called the modernizing of poetic verse. This special issue of Middle Eastern Literatures seeks to supplement the centrality of Shi‘r with equal attention to poets and poetic movements outside the celebrated parameters of the magazine.

The Middle Eastern Literature editors write: ‘We understand the ‘margins’ of Shi‘r as encompassing a multiplicity of aspects, including:

  • The geographic margins: that is, contributions by poets outside the Beiruti epicenter; for instance, Khartoum’s equally vibrant poetry scene of the 1960s.
  • The ethnic and linguistic margins: contributions in Arabic and other MENA languages, such as Amazigh or Kurdish, to the history of poetic modernism in the Arab world, as well as contributions from poets representing the region’s diverse ethnic and religious make-up.
  • The margins of gender: modernist women poets such as Sanniya Salih, Laure Ghourayeb, Mona Saudi, Daisy al-Amir, and Lami‘a ‘Abbas ‘Amara.
  • Unexplored texts and figures involved in the Shi‘r project. For instance, there are many modern Arabic poets and critics who have not received their due attention in academic scholarship, such as Fuad Rifqa and Kamal Kheir Bek, not to mention figures that initially belonged to Shi‘r but then splintered off, such as Muhammad al-Maghut and Shawqi Abi Shaqra.
  • Contemporaneous poetic projects, such as Tawfiq Sayigh’s Ḥiwār magazine, as well as the movements that have grown out of the Shi‘r project, such as Iraq’s 1970s generation led by the likes of Sargon Bulus and Fadhil Azzawi.’

Submission Instructions:

Interested authors should submit a 250-word abstract and a short bio by e-mail to the guest editors of this special issue of Middle Eastern Literatures (contact below)

Selected authors are expected to submit an original article of 6,000-8,000 words.

Abstracts will be accepted until Jun. 16, 2023. Decisions will be communicated shortly after.

Manuscript submissions are due preferably by Aug. 31, 2023 via the journal’s portal for peer review (if need be and with explanation, the deadline could be extended).

Guest editors:

Adey Almohsen, PhD (,

Hamad M. Al-Rayes, PhD (