Article Title :
“A Whiff Like the Effect of Butterflies at the End of the Earth”1 : Esthetics of Linguistic Discourse in the Poems of Arab Poetesses as Mirrors of Liberation and Influence
Modern poetry , linguistic devices , Gender , Arab Poetesses
Many female Arab writers have chosen poetry as the most efficient and esthetically most gratifying medium for expressing the discourse of liberation and influence that they are leading. The present paper discusses the new poetic devices adopted by various women poets, from the use of shocking titles to the creation of unusual devices for communication between reader and poem. In this study, we focus on three poems by three women poets and compare the role that verbal esthetics play in promoting the concept of liberation and influence in them. The first poem is ‘Taḥaddin’ (Challenge) by the Algerian poet Aḥlām Mustaghāminī (b. 1942). In it, language appears as an instrument for a discourse of liberation in face of great challenges: politics, society, the writer herself. The poet uses such traditional devices as harmonizing intertexuality and functional rhyme to construct her vision. The Iraqi poet Wafā Abd al-Razzāq (b. 1952) in her ‘Waqfāt’ (Pauses) takes symbols out of their usual context and deprives them of their evocative power in the reader’s mind, enabling her to use them to create images of her own vision of women composers of poetry. Maysūn Ṣaqr (b. 1958) of the United Arab Emirates expresses redemption through the act of writing by using meta-linguistic esthetic constructions such as écart, contrasting intertextuality and enjambement that shatter the meaning. All three poems use devices that are similar to those used by male Arab poets in modern times, the poetesses have succeeded in giving these devices a feminine coat unique to them. The difference lies in the mode of their use: 1) clearly hearing the feminine first person, 2) allusions to children’s voices, masks and stories, and 3) biographical tales whose protagonists are women, all of which are rarely to be found in the writings of male poets.
The three poems represent an attack by women on the male poetic system.
All three poems use devices that are similar to those used by male Arab poets in modern time.
The poets attempt to free themselves, not socially, intellectually or politically.
The poets have a feminine meta-linguistic focus.
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