Narratives of Diaspora and Exile in Arabic and Palestinian Poetry

Saddik M. Gohar, United Arab Emirates University

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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.

Book Review: Poor-Mouth Jubilee by Michael Chitwood

Publisher: Tupelo Press (October 15, 2010)

Paperback: 72 pages

Price: $16.95

ISBN-10: 1932195890

ISBN-13: 978-1932195897

Review by

Paula Hayes

Strayer University, USA

“True revelation occurs amid distortion”—The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture:  Volume 1:  Religion

Southern poetry occupies an inimitable place in contemporary literature. Michael Chitwood, whose work has gained significant recognition and a wide readership over the last two decades or so, represents a current trend of an increased interest in Southern poetry. His latest collection, Poor-Mouth Jubilee, reaches back to the heart of what can bind a Southern town together—religion—in an effort to explore the meaningfulness and fruitfulness of human relationships.  Chitwood’s usual positions of irony, skepticism, and cynicism toward Christianity are softened, considerably, in Poor-Mouth Jubilee.  Still, the unrelenting quality of obstinacy that characterizes a particular sect of Southern literature from William Faulkner to Flannery O’Connor is ever-present in Poor-Mouth Jubilee. The concept of obstinacy in Southern literature translates into the idea that while it is impossible to overcome suffering through a transcendence of it, nonetheless there can be a repudiation of the belief that suffering is meaningless. Poor-Mouth Jubilee reminds us that meaning can be found in the smallest of appreciations. In the poem, “Now And In Our Time of Need,” Chitwood describes how a flock of crows can remind us of the need for prayerful meditation.

Charles Olson and the Quest for a Quantum Poetics

Douglas Duhaime, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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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.

From New Elocution to New Criticism and the Dismissal of Vachel Lindsay

Brian McAllister, Albany State University, Georgia, USA

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Vachel Lindsay’s fame was made, and ultimately ruined, by his performances of his “Higher Vaudeville” poems.  This essay discusses the performance of the Higher Vaudeville in light of ideas of the New Elocution movement of the early twentieth century which influenced Lindsay’s technique.  Lindsay conceived these poems as elements of a performance medium.  Ironically, some of the New Elocution ideas were indurated by the New Criticism, which discounted performance as constitutive of poetic meaning and led to Lindsay’s critical dismissal. A consideration of the Higher Vaudeville as performance argues that Lindsay’s achievement warrants critical reassessment.

Tipu Sultan and the Politics of Representation in Three 19th Century English novels

Ayusman Chakraborty, Jadavpur University, India

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Tipu Sultan was the ruler of the native state of Mysore. His fierce opposition to British rule in India earned him unrivalled notoriety in England. Colonial writings usually portray him as a cruel tyrant who tortured Indians and Englishmen alike. This article studies the representation of Tipu Sultan in three nineteenth century English novels – The Surgeon’s Daughter by Sir Walter Scott, Tippoo Sultaun: A Tale of the Mysore Wars by Captain Meadows Taylor, and The Tiger of Mysore by G. A. Henty . In these works, Tipu is painted in an extremely unfavourable light. Arguing that the politics of imperialism influences such representations, this article tries to show how the depiction of Tipu as a monstrous villain served to justify British rule in India. These novels seem to suggest that the British deserve credit for rescuing Indians from such egregious villain. The article also focuses on politicization of Tipu’s dead body. Colonial art and literature constantly return to the scene where Tipu’s body is discovered by his enemies. This article argues that colonial imagination converts Tipu’s corpse to a ‘grisly trophy’ which becomes a sign of British triumph over Oriental despotism.

México de afuera in Northern Missouri: The Creation of Porfiriato Society in America’s Heartland

Craig Dennison

Westminster College, USA

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.04


This essay examines the ideology of México de afuera in the novel La patria perdida by Teodoro Torres.  Torres, who fled Mexico after the onset of the Mexican Revolution, found a job as lead editor of La Prensa, the successful Spanish-language newspaper owned by Ignacio Lozano.  Living in San Antonio during the 1910s, Torres became familiar with the ideology of México de afuera before returning to Mexico.  His novel, which begins in northern Missouri, follows the return of Luis Alfaro to his homeland only to discover that he feels more at home, more in Mexico, on his farm north of Kansas City.  When studying the work and the life of Torres, the plot of this novel become problematic.  A man who lived in the United States for nine years before returning to Mexico, Torres certainly had the insight to provide psychological and emotional analyses of the immigrants and the understanding to write about the thoughts and feelings that many had experienced upon their return to the homeland.  Yet, why does Torres, who had returned to Mexico and done well for himself for over a decade before he penned this novel, invent an immigrant utopia on a farm in Missouri?  It is not a question that is easily answered, but after examining Torres’s life, the basic tenets of México de afuera and the novel itself, a conclusion can be reached.  Torres idolized Porfiriato society and Luis Alfaro’s farm is an idealized version of fin-de-siècle Mexico.

Thinking about the Mexican Revolution: Philosophy, Culture and Politics in Mexico: 1910-1934

Aureliano Ortega Esquivel

University of Guanajuato, Mexico

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.03


The commemoration of the two hundredth anniversary of the War of Independence and the centenary of the Mexican Revolution make this a good moment for some analysis and reflection on the influence that both events have had on the form and the meaning that Mexican intellectual production and cultural institutions have conserved throughout that time.  The aim of this essay, is to examine in how, and by what cultural and institutional means, a process of historical transformation as violent, convulsive, complex and radical as the Revolution ended up producing a remarkably favourable set of conditions for literature, music, the visual arts, education and, in particular, philosophy, whose earliest developments and contributions came between 1910 and 1934.

Political Economy, Alexander Von Humboldt, and Mexico’s 1810 and 1910 Revolutions

José Enrique Covarrubias

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico

Richard Weiner

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA

Volume 2, Number 3, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n3.02


2010 is a significant year in Mexico since it is the centennial of the 1910 Revolution and the bicentennial of the 1810 Revolution for independence.[i] Next year will also be historic since it will mark the bicentennial of the publication of Alexander von Humboldt’s highly influential 1811 study about Mexico, Ensayo político sobre el reino de la Nueva España.  One of the novel features of this article is that it examines the ties between Humboldt’s famous 1811 work and Mexico’s Revolutions of 1810 and 1910. While Humboldt’s impact has been stressed for the independence era, it has been entirely unnoticed for the 1910 Revolution. By showing Humboldt’s enduring influence, this essay will demonstrate an important connection between the two Revolutions that has been overlooked. While Humboldt remained prominent throughout, the discourse about him varied significantly in the 1810 and 1910 Revolutions. Additionally, this essay will suggest that Humboldt’s influence during the age of the 1810 Revolution was more complex and varied than conventional wisdom—which emphasizes his contribution to the idea of Mexico as a land of vast natural abundance—acknowledges.[ii]

Living in the Theme Park: A Textual Tour of Savannah’s Public Squares

Tom Lavazzi

Kingsborough Community College, New York, USA

Volume 2, Number 1, 2010  Download PDF Version

 DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n1.03

About the Paper

In drafting this essay, the author has counter-posed two compositional strategies, one based on conventional rhetorical structures, founded in enlightenment concepts of sequential logic, rationality, and isomorphism—i.e., the standard, academically sanctioned thesis essay form, proceeding in an orderly and hierarchical manner from head (main idea) through body (detailed breakdown and investigation of thesis points—equivalent to scientific testing or proof of an initial  hypothesis/proposal, deploying transitions and focal topics to govern and control the content of each subsequent investigative unit (paragraph).  From this perspective, the essay structure is very much the rhetorical double of the city plan it proposes to elucidate.  Working against this more panoptically controlled hierarchical structure, is a postmodern turn toward [Internet] www-based, non-sequential organization.  Hence, certain sections of the essay are potentially arrived at via mock-URLs, suggesting the tentative, self-consciously constructed, unnatural nature of the smoothly flowing logical structure; at any moment, a different link could be selected, interrupting/disrupting/complicating the logical and sequential arrangement.  Also along these alinear lines are bolded fragments of text, suggesting an associational pattern of connectivity among images and ideas destabilizing and rendering motile the more static, rationally secured surface of the final product.