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The Dangers of PoetryCulture, Politics, and Revolution in Iraq$
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Kevin M. Jones

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781503613393

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503613393.001.0001

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“The Spirit of the Rebel Poet”

“The Spirit of the Rebel Poet”

(p.1) Introduction “The Spirit of the Rebel Poet”
The Dangers of Poetry

Kevin M. Jones

Stanford University Press

The introduction outlines the concept of rebel poetry and the relationship between poetry and the political struggles against colonialism and dictatorship in modern Iraq. It traces the broad contours of Iraqi political history and explains how poets shaped the cultural politics of important national debates and discourses. It challenges the traditional distinctions between high culture and mass culture that have traditionally consigned poetry to intellectual and literary history and shows how the unique cultural landscape of modern Iraq allowed poetry to maintain a liminal position between these distinct cultural strata. The introduction argues that the public role of poetry in modern Iraq made poems social acts as well as literary texts and that the very popularity of poetry made it a dangerous cultural endeavor.

Keywords:   poetry, nationalism, intellectual life, Iraqi politics, politics and literature, politics and culture, popular culture

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