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Silencing the SeaSecular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry$
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Khaled Furani

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804776462

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804776462.001.0001

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Conclusions: Secular Prayers

Conclusions: Secular Prayers

(p.237) Conclusions: Secular Prayers
Silencing the Sea
Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the connection between form and content in Arabic poetry by analyzing the poems themselves. Contemporary literary Arabic poetry is difficult to comprehend because its authors often vindicate “rational” (that is, nontheistic) authority in society, but their poems are characterized by increasingly “irrational” (mythical) content. Paradoxically, Arabic poetry employs familiar words of daily Arabic but binds them with an opaque significance. This chapter addresses this paradox by looking at the work of an eminent Muslim-born poet: Adonis. It examines his poetry anthology Songs of Mehyar the Damascene (1971), which includes both measured and prose poetry and alludes to an affinity among forms of poetry, freedom, and society. Adonis's writing permits general conjectures about the secularity of modern Arabic poetry. He establishes affiliations with Christianity in search of a secular mode of self-flourishing that extend beyond his choice of single words (mazāmīr vs. anāshīd). Moreover, his enactment of the secular exceeds his disavowal of theistically driven life in general and Islam in particular.

Keywords:   Arabic poetry, secularity, Adonis, form, content, Songs of Mehyar the Damascene, Islam, Christianity

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