A Study of the Vernacular Poetry of Aḥmad Fu’ād Nigm


This study provides an analysis of the social and political meanings in the protest vernacular poetry of Aḥmad Fu'âd Nigm (b. 1929), the contemporary Eqyptian socialist poet. Nigm's work portrays Eqypt as a society composed of contending social forces and it is concerned with the cause of liberating Egypt from class inequality and political oppression. For Nigm, the way to achieve such liberation is through a people's revolution that will ultimately pave the way for a new socialist society.
Nigm's commitment to the causes of his society is enhanced by his use of the simple, yet evocative, colloquial, an idiom which is close to the mind and heart of Egypt's poor and illiterate people. Moreover, Nigm deftly utilises different folk poetic forms, folk idioms and pungent witticisms to convey his socialist message.
Consequently, Nigm's poetry enjoys wide popularity in Egypt, especially when sung to the melodious tune of the 'ûd by Shaykh Imâm, Nigm's partner. Being an example of genuine popular expression, Nigm's protest appears to pose a challenge to the political establishment, which considers Nigm as a provocateur, as well as to the majority of scholars to whom vernacular works have no place in their canonical definition of "high" literature.
Review Quotes
' ...it is set out with admirable clarity and one has easy access to the ideas of the subject.' Philip F. Kennedy, Journal of Arabic Literature, 1994. ' The author was able to read clearly the nuances implied in a variety of poetic techniques...' George N. Atiyeh, Middle East Journal, 1991. ' Kamal Abdel-Malek's book serves as a useful introduction to the Nigm-Imām partnership...' Marilyn Booth, MESA Bulletin, 1994.
Suitable for specialists and students of Arabic or islamic studies.
Index Card