التشكيل المكاﻧﻲ وإنتاج المعنى : الصفحة الشعرية عند أمل دنقل / Spatial Structures and the Production of Meaning : Amal Dunqul's Poetic Page



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شحاته, حازم; Shehata, Hazem; دنقل, أمل; Dunqul, Amal

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The modern Arabic poem cannot be grasped exclusively through the ear. Poetic transformations affecting the classical metrical structure -- starting with Andalusian muwashshaḥā! and ending with the prose poem -- have rendered the spatial structures on a poetic page more relevant then ever in the production of total poetic significance. At times, the modern Arabic poem is intended -- partly or mainly -- for visual reception. Selected poems of Amal Dunqul (1940-1983), a major Egyptian poet, are explored to demonstrate the semiotic importance of visual elements of the page including lay-out, non-verbal signs, interplay of fonts and the opposition between written versus empty space. In the first poem analyzed, "Aylūl" ("September"), two different voices are juxtaposed both spatially and lithographically on the page to indicate a bi-phonic effect. Such an effect cannot be articulated, but it can be recognized by the eye with all its implications. In the second poem "Ughniyat al-ka'ka al-ḥajariyya" ("The Song of the Stony Cake"), punctuation marks as non-verbal signs are analyzed in their impact and their contribution to the meaning of the poem. The evocative power of the opposition between open and closed letters is indicated and demonstrated by a diagram. In the third poem "Sala" ("Prayer"), the analysis shows the untraditional architecture of the poem on the page. This prosaic form, visually grasped, embodying a sublime content and Koranic diction, evokes sacred texts, thus contributing formally to the significance of the title. In the fourth poem "Muqābala Khaṣṣa ma' ibn Nūḥ" ("A Special Meeting with the Son of Noah"), the analysis traces the changes of the architectural pattern of the written text on the white page, in an endeavor to suggest visually the Flood. The spatial and the semantic coverge to produce the message. Furthermore, the lines of the last stanza which resemble لا symbolize in their iconic form the rejectionist attitude of the poet, as لا is the Arabic transcription of the word 'no'.]

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