بيبليوجرافيا شعراء السبعينات فى مصر مع تعليق / A Bibliography and Commentary : Poetry of the Seventies


Rif'at Sallam



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ﺳﻼّﻡ, رفعت; Sallam, Rifʿat

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[A study of Egyptian poetry in the seventies and its critcal impact is a challenging task. Among the obstacles confronting any researcher are the nature and location of the criticism (arbitrary and baised) as well as the vast, hitherto undocumented, array of material made less accessible by the fact that many writings were published not through professional outlets but by the simple technology of stencil supported by the financial contribution of the poets and their friends. This article presents an extensive bibliography followed by an epilogue commenting on the critical state and reception of 'the poetry of the seventies'. The primary bibliography of Egyptian poetry in the seventies compiled by the poet Rifʿat Sallam documents first, the poetic output of thirteen of the most outstanding exemplars of the phenomeno; second, the poets' writings in prose -- whether collective or individual; third, interviews with individual poets; fourth, seminars and symposia covered by the press; fifth, important critiques on the phenomenon. Criticism of Egyptian poetry in the seventies-- varied though it is -- is characterised by a preconcieved negation of the phenomenon wherein the poetry in question is seen as "other" and, therefore, a threat to the critical "self". Thus, the poets of the seventies were categorically disavowed. This attitude is partly explicable by the circumstances that surrounded the emergence of experimental poetry: the immigration of outstanding Egyptian critics, the closing down of journals and literary magazines, the fossilization of critical criteria and poetic forms. According to such literary canons, poetry is to reflect social reality -- a reality which experimental poets refrained from portraying directly on the grounds of their objections to 'slogan poetry'. Thus the movement incurred the wrath of both the official establishment and the dogmatic leftists. Established poets have consistently referred to experimental poetry as "marginal", expressing their anxiety that "the marginal is attempting to overtake the mainstream". This obviously subjective attitude is a reaction against the seventies' iconoclasm which endangered the output of the sixties' generation with its social commitment and alternative poetic forms. The alleged ambiguity, complexity and strangeness of experimental poetry in the seventies was seen by previous poets and prominant critics -- apart from rare exceptions --as a sin compounded by the fact that the poets of the seventies also produced critical works, thus directly redefining all the cultural canons of their predecessors.]

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