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Abstract

This article explores the definition of the term meta-poetic and its application to the poetry of the ʿAbbāsid age, focusing on short compositions and excerpts in which poets explicitly voice their critical opinions on poetry. The cultural milieu of the period and the debates and issues that surrounded ʿAbbāsid poetry necessarily influenced poets and their creative processes. ʿAbbāsid poets wrote for an ideal reader/critic not only qualified to appreciate their innovations but also capable of placing their contributions in the continuum of the tradition they were writing against, bringing the relationship with the literary past to the forefront of the poet’s concerns.

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
In Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition Huda J. Fakhreddine expands the study of metapoesis to include the Abbasid age in Arabic literature. Through this lens that is often used to study modernist poetry of the 20th and the 21st century, this book detects and examines a meta-poetic tendency and a self-reflexive attitude in the poetry of the first century of Abbasid poets. What and why is poetry? are questions the Abbasid poets asked themselves with the same persistence and urgency their modern successor did. This approach to the poetry of the Abbasid age serves to refresh our sense of what is “modernist” or “poetically new” and detach it from chronology.

The Free Verse poets and the ʿAbbāsid muḥdathūn (the modernizers of the eighth and ninth centuries) share a similar meta-poetic posture at the core of their modernizing projects. Both groups were aware of not only their role as initiators of change, but also their position vis-à-vis the poets who wrote before them. This paper examines these two modernizing experiences through the lens of metapoesis to reveal some of the critical and theoretical concerns that continue to haunt Arabic poets today.

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
In: Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition
In: Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition
In: Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition
In: Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition