تحولات الشعر والواقع فى السبعينات / The Transformation of Poetry and Reality in the 1970s


Sabry Hafez



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حافظ, صبرى; Hafez, Sabry

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

Publication Date





[The complexity of transformation of reality engendered through the traumatic experience of the 1970s in Egypt is analogous to that of the poetic experience of the young generation of poets who started their creative endeavour during this turbulent decade. The study poses two main hypotheses: that there is an interaction between the artistic artifice and reality with its various facets and multiple frames of references, and that both art and reality have undergone radical transformations in Egypt during and since the 1970s. The relationship between these transformations is not of a reflexive nature in which the creative text slavishly reflects reality, but of a creative nature where poetry develops its analogical realm of experience and its various rubrics and textual strategies capable of shaping it. The autonomy of the poetic text is of vital importance, yet it does not imply its independence from, or its ontological rupture with, reality. The vital interaction between the laws of poetic composition and those of the prevalent criticism of any literary period plays a significant role in determining the nature of the reception of that poetry. In its attempt to deal with the dialectics of reception in a specific horizon of ontological experience the study deals with the changing horizons of reception and their vital role in shaping the expectation of both readers and critics in dealing with the poetry of the 1970s. After delineating the nature of the correspondence between the poetic movement in the 1950's and 1960's and the socio-political and cultural consciousness in the Arab World, the study elaborates similar homology between poetry and reality in the 1970s. In this period, the fragmentation of reality gave rise to new forms of poetic expressions in which the poetic text created within the rubrics of its diction, language and structure a parallel reality capable of conducting a dialectical relationship with the external world. In its normative section the study deals with the various manifestations of the poets' attempt to formulate new forms of poetic discourse. The poetic reaction to the transformation of realities is not one of concordance but of inversion, for the depreciation of language in reality leads to its exultation in the poem with an ever increasing emphasis on its lyrical potential and aesthetic value. The language in this poetry is not a tool for expressing the world, but the means for experiencing it. It has become a world in its own right capable of offering richer promises. The poetic imagery has lost its old function of approximating the world, and has become a force for creating a new world. The study then deals with the significance of what it calls the poetic strategies of deferring semantic realization and their impact on both the construction of the poetic imagery and the structure of the new poem.]

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