Dec 10, 2013
From the Rubble of the Syrian Civil War, Visceral Poetry Arises
Posted on Sep 9, 2013
Turning away from the religious metaphors of the past, Syria’s new literature relies on realistic, raw descriptions inspired by war and expresses the hope for a united country to be formed. Ex-pat Syrian writers marvel at the new poetic movement’s beauty, an unexpected lyricism that could not have been anticipated through years of studying Syrian works. Lines such as Najat Abdul Samad’s “I bandage my heart with the determination of that boy / they hit with an electric stick on his only kidney until he urinated blood. / Yet he returned and walked in the next demonstration… / I bandage it with the outcry: ‘Death and not humiliation’ ” pry at the heart of the civil war tearing the nation apart, but also kindle pride and determination.
What’s more, it is not just imagery and diction that have changed, but also the means of distribution the literature relies on. Previously, new poetry was presented at formal readings, but it is now being diffused through social media or at protests. Partly thanks to these new media, oral movements that were silenced once by censorship have been flourishing in the past few years.
Poetry is playing a large part in forming a new Syrian identity as well as fueling the language of demonstrations as people chant “verses together in the streets.” But the outspoken nature of this emerging literary tradition comes at a price, explains Al-Jazeera.
And so out of cruelty and bloodshed, despite years of suppression, a new Syria comes forth through creative writing, leaving us with words of courage and resolve such as poet Youssef Bou Yihea’s declaration, “My sect is the scent of my homeland, the soil after the rain, and my Syria is my only religion.”
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi
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