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Narratives of Diaspora and Exile in Arabic and Palestinian Poetry

Saddik M. Gohar, United Arab Emirates University

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Abstract

This paper underlines the attitudes of Palestinian / Arab poets toward the issues of exile and identity integral to their traumatic experience of Diaspora and displacement. From a historical context  and within the parameters of colonial / postcolonial theory , the paper  advocates a new critical perspective exploring the dialectics of exile and identity in Palestinian / Arabic poetry in order to argue that  exile , in contemporary world literature ,  becomes  a signifier  not only  of living  outside  one’s homeland but also of  the  condition caused by such physical absence. Aiming to reach a state of reconciliation rather than conflict, the poetic voices, analyzed in the paper, reflect a sense of nostalgia and emotional attachment toward their homeland. The paper  argues that Palestine, for  the Palestinian poets, is not  a paradise or an idealistic utopia that only exists in  their  poetry and  imagination but  a geographical reality caught up in national and religious limbos  and rooted in the trajectories of colonial history and diabolical  power  politics.

Stillness of star-less nights: Afghan Women’s Poetry of Exile

Rumpa Das, Maheshtala College, South 24 Parganas, India

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 Abstract

Contemporary English poetry by Afghan women presents a remarkable reading experience. Critical explorations, at ease with post-colonial conditions, minority solitude and feminist readings, have largely remained inimical to the unique, yet chequered history that women poets such as Zohra Saed, Sahar Muradi, Sara Hakeem, Fatana Jahangir Ahrary, Fevziye Rahzigar Barlas and Donia Gobar document in their works. Most of them write in their native Dari and Pushtun languages as well as in English and often their English compositions have smatterings of their native tongues. Even though individual experiences differ, these women delve into the collective memory of oppression, pain and unrest to give vent to their feelings, and seek to reach out towards a sorority of shared angst. This paper seeks to explore the complex cultural contexts which have given birth to Afghan women’s poetry in exile.

Bob Dylan’s Folk Poetics in the Later Albums: Telling the Story of America in Ruins in Simple Poetic Language

Matt Shedd, University of Oregon, USA

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Abstract

Bob Dylan’s recent albums have returned to a more basic sense of American vernacular and poetics, employing stock phrases that evoke a rural America of the past. However, the past does not provide any shelter from modern day angst and impending devastation. We see this particularly in the 2001’s Love and Theft, coincidentally released on the day of the Twin Towers attack. By foregoing concepts of radical artistic individuality, Dylan use more traditional folk poetics to provide a historical and communal account of the descent of the United States into what Dylan calls “an empire in ruins.”

Memory: The ‘Spiral’ in the Poetry of Joy Harjo

Susmita Paul, Independent Scholar

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Abstract

Memory as a narrative is a vindicated thesis in academia. In the article, the author focuses on the nature and the function of ‘memory’ in the poetry of Joy Harjo, an indigenous American poet with tribal affiliations. Instead of using only Eurocentric discourses of performance studies and theoretical studies on memory, the author attempts to assess the distillation of Harjo’s independent ideas on memory in her creative oeuvre – written and performed poetry. Further, the author probes how Harjo’s ‘theory’ of memory connects the past, the present and the future.

The Function of Scientific Metaphor in Thoreau’s Walden

Robert Tindol, Shantou University

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Abstract

Henry David Thoreau’s Walden has often been lauded for its philosophical advice “to simplify” and for its energetic response to the question of how human beings fit into the natural world. In terms of language, the very manner in which the author describes and metaphorizes nature in the microcosm of Walden Pond furthers the theme of simplification, and further contributes a novel approach to the very concept of seeing and understanding. Walden is not simply about reducing life to the barest common denominator of existence, but also about understanding how to debride just enough of the superfluities to provide insights into how amalgamating nature with human language can lead to a new humanistic vision of renewal. Thus, the employment of scientific metaphor in Walden is linked to the humanistic quest for guidance in the conduct of life.

Revisiting Untraded Paths: Literary Revisions of Eighteenth-Century Exploration Journals

Miriam Fernández-Santiago, University of Granada, Spain

Abstract

The present article proposes a revision of the American imperialistic, scientific, literary and historical origins as they were encoded and re-coded in the writings and rewritings of exploration journals. It theorises on the reciprocal influence that the official and the personal, the scientific and the fictional, the historical and the epical have in the production of a national referent as it is inscribed within the American travel-writing tradition. This article proposes an allegorical and literal reading of “line drawing” in its study of texts by William Byrd, Charles Mason and Thomas Pynchon, which merges experienced and reported realities into a complex multi-text.

Charles Olson and the Quest for a Quantum Poetics

Douglas Duhaime, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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Abstract

This paper investigates the ways the American poet Charles Olson helped twentieth-century writers create a “quantum poetics” that could reflect the discoveries of modern relativity theories and particle physics. In the first third of my paper, I show how Olson’s seminal essay “Projective Verse” advances a method of reading poetry which draws from Einstein’s special theory of relativity. In the second third of my paper, I discuss the ways Olson drew from quantum mechanics in his poetry and prose. There I also show how Olson’s writing invites readers to construct a method of reading rooted in physicist Niels Bohr’s principle of “complementarity.” In the final third of my paper, I show how Olson used Einstein’s theory of a unified field model to theorize poetry as a unified field of action.

The Aesthetics of Race and Relativity in A. Van Jordan’s Quantum Lyrics

Paula Hayes, Strayer University, Tennessee, USA

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Abstract

Van Jordan uses physics in his poetry to explore many sub-texts—such as, race in American society, gender, autobiographical memories of youth,as well as the story of Albert Einstein’s marriage to his first wife.  Van Jordan examines the possibility that Einstein’s wife may have helped in discovering the theory of relativity despite the fact that Einstein failed to give her any credit for doing so. The poet’s stories of his personal memories of experiencing youthful love and disillusionment, along with the poet’s unfortunate encounters with racism in America, are juxtaposed in the Quantum Lyrics beside the story of Albert Einstein’s personal life.  The poet moves back and forth in the volume between the language of music and the language of science as a means of exploring how far either one can penetrate to the core of the human experience. 

In Search of… a Third Culture: Towards an Experimental Science and Nature Cinema

 Walter C. Metz, Southern Illinois University

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Abstract

This essay attempts to move beyond C.P. Snow’s reductive formulation of the two cultures, positing a third culture forged out of the collision of science documentary television with the avant-garde traditions of the cinema. In particular, I use both scientific and humanistic understandings of memory to compare and contrast a science television program, “Understanding the Mysteries of Memory” (Science Channel, 2002) with an avant-garde film, Report (Bruce Conner, 1967).

Charles Dickens’s A Child’s History of England and Spain

José Ruiz Mas, University of Granada, Spain

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Abstract

In this article I endeavour to analyse the image of relevant Spanish historical figures such as King Pedro I, Catherine of Aragon, Christopher Columbus, Philip II, the Spanish Armada and other pro-Spanish English characters such as Mary I, as depicted in Charles Dickens’ A Child’s History of England (1851-53). In his overtly didactic attempt to convey a specific image of the legendary antagonism existing between Spain and England to his contemporary English children and youngsters through this peculiar history book, Dickens amply shows his prejudiced view of Spanish history and his overtly patriotic description of England’s history. Proof of the relevance and the persistence of Dickens’ anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic attitude that prevailed in English society throughout the second half of the 19th century is that C. R. L. Fletcher and Rudyard Kipling insist on similar ideas of Anglo-Spanish relations in A School History of England (1911).

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