Between Exile and Elegy, Palestine and Egypt: Mourid Barghouti’s Poetry and Memoirs

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
Tahia Abdel Nasser American University in Cairo

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This article reads the migration of poetry and memoirs by the Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti (Murīd al-Barghūthī) in the context of Egypt’s January 25, 2011 Revolution. At the start of 2012, the Cairo-based Barghouti dedicated excerpts from his 2005 booklength poem Muntaṣaf al-layl (Midnight) to the Taḥrīr martyrs. The poem’s own migration, interwoven with the exilic geography of Barghouti’s life and work, plots the intersection of exile with a new form of elegy in the contemporary Arabic literary scene. This new form of elegy, I argue, develops a revolutionary poetics by advancing images of heroism, martyrdom, and life. The poet’s memoirs I Saw Ramallah and I Was Born There, I Was Born Here illustrate the intertwined poetics of exile and elegy, tracing a transnational network of affiliations.

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