Further Research

Edward Said on the left, Mahmoud Darwish on the right.

Learn more about: Mahmoud Darwish’s Contribution to the Traditional Arabic Poetry.

Mahmoud Darwish was the epitome of an influential poet. He asserted this by constantly redefining traditional expectations of poetry. A moment where the world witnessed this truth was when Darwish read an elegy for his deceased friend and scholar Edward Said. Professor and scholar Rebecca Dyer dissects the elegy entitled “Tibaq,” discussing how this is an example of Darwish once again meshing genres. Specifically how Darwish fits not only the criteria of a marthiya, an elegiac genre that is apart of Arabic literature dating back to the pre-Islamic era but also exhibits characteristics of protest poetry. Dyer even goes even farther to discuss how Darwish uses Said’s ideas in his own writing as a way to acknowledge his friend’s excellence and accomplishments.

Dyer, Rebecca. “Poetry of Politics and Mourning: Mahmoud Darwish’s Genre-Transforming Tribute to Edward W. Said.” PMLA 122.5 (2007): 1447-1462.


James Baldwin

Learn more about: Exiled Poets in the United States.

Darwish, throughout In the Presence of Absence questions, what it means to be exiled. Mahmoud Darwish is not the first poet to be exiled and will no doubt not be the last. The United States too has exiled poets who were seen as controversial, when in reality they were political activists, very much like Darwish. James Baldwin, a famed poet, and writer were exiled from the U.S. to Paris because of his views regarding both race and sexuality. Baldwin, like Darwish who was also exiled to Paris, explored what it meant to be exiled.

According to Baldwin to be exiled means to be provided with new-found freedom and perspective. This is due to the oppressive nature the author was born into and is now forced to leave. Scholar Lloyd Kramer in his article James Baldwin in Paris: Exile, Multiculturalism and the Public Intellectual explains, “America thus resembled the motivation for countless other exiles who fled their native societies in the modern era: he (James Baldwin) believed that the profound constraints and oppressive boundaries in his own culture gave him the choice of leaving the home or facing the prospect of personal destruction” (31). The audience sees this same train of thought in Darwish’s poetry. This, in turn, creates a new and tension-filled relationship with his homeland as he reflects in the experiences he had there, as Kramer explores the United States as well has created similar situations for our poets.

Kramer, Lloyd. “James Baldwin in Paris: Exile, multiculturalism and the public intellectual.” Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques (2001): 27-47.


Learn more about: Nakba Poetry.

Poetry regarding the ongoing tragedy that is Nakba has seen high growth in recent years, enough so to gain national attention. This article was written as a tool in explaining both the creation of Nakba poetry and the factors that currently working to oppress its creation and existence. The poets that have contributed to this genre have been deemed “poets of resistance” by other Palestinians and those around the world that acknowledge their presence and impact. Author Honaida Ghanim specifically names Mahmoud Darwish and other poets in this article referencing how they discuss Nakba in its current and historical existence.

Ghanim, Honaida. “Poetics of disaster: Nationalism, gender, and social change among Palestinian poets in Israel after Nakba.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 22.1 (2009): 23-39.



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Nimalah Baaith-Ducharme ’20


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