Tradition and Engagement: The Language of Exile in Mahmoud Darwishs Poetry
A lecture by Terri DeYoung, University of Washington
Language and its role in poetry as a tool that both emancipates and impedes the artist was a consistent theme in Darwish's writing that only grew stronger over time. This paper will offer some observations on 3 particular Arabic words that serve as touchstones (and problems) for the question of exile in Darwish's work: hanin (nostalgia), manfa (exile) and mawt (death). Each of these words--as they develop meaning over Darwish's career, and connect his work to great Arab writers of the past--illustrate how language was both a problem and an oppotunity for Darwish, the quintessential modern Arab poet in search of a homeland.
Lecture was part of the one-day conference held on November 5, 2009.