أنطولوجية الجسد والإبداع الثقافى فى شعر مطر / Corporeal Ontology and Cultural Creativity: Matar's Poetics



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بسطاويسى, رمضان; Basttawicy, Ramadan

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Research Article

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Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The article explores the philosophical basis of the poetic language of Muhammad Afifi Matar, a prominent experimental poet of Egypt. The study reveals a fusion between body and consciousness, sensuality and memory, thus establishing that Matar's poetics obliterates established dichotomies and dualisms. Matar weaves the rich legacy of the Arabic written word with oral myths and popular legends. He articulates in his poems the unspoken cultural dimension of his people, besides activating deserted and marginalized diction. His collective poetic corpus contains traces of Arab national memory and stirrings of the present struggle of the Arab people. The poet's concern is with revolutionizing the real, not through a direct critique of the actual, but through arousing the senses which have been dulled and automatized under the subjugation of hegemonic policies and texts. Matar's critique, therefore, does not aim at reality as such, but at exploding the opaque mediators that block the vision of potentialities. Matar views culture as a struggle between different social forces, some of which are dominant and others peripheral and overshadowed. He is the spokesman of the nation's outcast majority which is denied a platform for expressing its aspirations and heritage. What Matar achieves in poetry parallels what the renowned Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy accomplished in architecture: situating modernity in specificity and creating structures from local material, thus releasing the collective self from its dependency on the other. Matar proposes an écriture which emerges authentically from the national culture, but joins and contributes to global creativity. In his collection Anta Wahiduha (1986), Matar echoes Ibn Arabi's inter-penetrating triple fields: the cosmic, the national and the personal. Both Matar and the medieval mystic use body language to articulate lived experience and cosmic forces. The contrast, however, lies in Ibn Arabi's movement from the total to the partial, starting with Genesis; while Matar moves from the partial to the total, opening with Judgment. Matar's quest for making the body a touchstone overlaps with the Moroccan writer Abdelkebir Khatibi; they are both concerned with an ontology of repressed identity intimately linked to the body.]

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