Modern Arabic Poetry. A Prosodic Analysis of Three Modern Arabic Poems

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyse and describe the formal features of three modern Arabicpoems, written by three Arabic poets considered representatives for modern Arabic poetry:Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, Adunis and Mahmoud Darwish. Earlier research in the area ofmodern Arabic poetry often concentrate on the thematic features of the poetry, and there arefew in-depth studies of poems in their entirety. The analyses of the poems show that theconventions associated with traditional Arabic poetry - the symmetry of the two hemistichs,the monometre and the monorhyme - are lacking in the material. The poems arecharacterized by the use of heterometric lines, irregular rhyme schemes and the use of asingle type of feet as a basic prosodic unit instead of whole metres. The classical poem wasof a rather paratactive nature, where each line formed a semantic (as well as syntactic) unit,whereas the modern poem shows more hypotactic features with a degree of enjambment inboth meaning and syntax over the one line. The paper is concluded by stating that althoughthere are many features that separate the modern Arabic poem from the conventions ofclassical Arabic poetry, there are still elements that unite the two, and the Free VerseMovement did not entail a clean break from the conventions of classical Arabic poetry.Analyses such as this can be fruitful for instance in the area of translation.

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