Egyptian Movement Poetry

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
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  • 1 Georgetown University

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Abstract

Poetry has long had a central place in the repertoires of modern Egyptian protest movements, but just as social science accounts of these movements downplay the role of expressive arts (such as poetry), literary studies of colloquial Egyptian poetry have downplayed the performative dynamic of this poetry, as well as its role within social movements. This essay develops the concept of “movement poetry” within the Egyptian social movements, with a special focus on the protest cycle of 1968-1977. In so doing, it discusses the work of Abdel Rahman el-Abnoudi (ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Abnūdī), Ahmed Fouad Negm (Aḥmad Fuʾād Nijm), Samīr ʿAbd al-Bāqī, and others, and considers the conventions and repertoires that extend to Egyptian activists in the present.