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In The Wake of Poetic



Heralding a new period of creativity, In the Wake of Poetic explores the aesthetics of Palestinian cultural expression in the last two decades. As it increasingly gains a significant presence on the international scene, much of Palestinian art owes a debt to Mahmoud Darwish, one of the finest contemporary poets, and to Palestinian writers of his generation. Rahman maps the immense influence of Darwish’s poetry on a new generation of performance artists, visual artists, spoken-word poets, and musicians. Through an examination of selected works by key artists – such as Suheir Hammad, Ghassan Zaqtan, Elia Suleiman, Mona Hatoum, Sharif Waked, and others – Rahman articulates an aesthetic founded on loss, dispersion, dispossession, and transformation. It interrupts dominant regime, constituting acts of dissension and intervention. It reinscribes belonging and is oriented toward solidarity and future. This innovative wave of experimentation transforms our understanding of the national through the diasporic and the transnational, and offers a profound meditation on identity.

Najat Rahman is professor of comparative literature at the University of Montreal. She is the author of Literary Disinheritance: The Writing of Home in the Work of Mahmoud Darwish and Assia Djebar.

Excerpts of In the Wake of Poetic: Palestinian Artists After Darwish

This is an art of dissent that crosses over political impasses and renders what has been muted and excluded legible and public. Art and politics interrupt the framing of perceptual space, creating difference and challenging consensual forms of power, where art allows the subject to appear and where politics allows excluded speech to emerge. This art compels a response and calls for reflection on the act of interpretation at a time of devastation. It is an act of intervention in the present, a critical act of listening and dissension. (page 29)

Director’s Choice for Fall 2015

“In the Wake of the Poetic links literary criticism with Palestinian reality to give a fascinating panoramic view of Palestinian artistic production in the past two decades.”—The Jordan Times

“An intensely insightful reading of diverse transnational forms of Palestinian nationhood in Palestinian art—in hip hop, spoken word poetry, film, music, and visual arts. Najat Rahman’s In the Wake of the Poetic: Palestinian Artists After Darwish is a compelling accomplishment.”—Mary N. Layoun, Department of Comparative Literature & Folklore Studies

“The first substantial study to trace the impact of Arabic poetry on proliferating art forms and to see the connections between them, as though the works producedIn the Wake of the Poetic seamlessly come out of the ones before it.”—Dina Matar, senior lecturer in Arab media and political communication at SOAS, University of London

“An ambitious book and it delivers on its promise, offering close readings of little-known texts and acts of artistic performance, as it contributes powerfully to English language writing on an artistic, cinematic, musical, and poetic scene. . . . It teaches patiently, and with the grace and profundity of a great work of scholarship, a new politics of listening.”—Jeffrey Sacks, associate professor of Arabic and comparative literature, University of California, Riverside