Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Comparative Literature

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This research is a comparative study that compares two types of multicultural poetry: contemporary poetry written by non-native speakers and the Andalusian medieval genre of muwaššah. In spite of the cultural and temporal gap between the two periods, the poets apply similar strategies to represent multicultural voices, for example integrating foreign expressions. I argue that multicultural poetics break the rules of classical writing and use oral expressions that are more flexible to include different languages and cultural references. This study focuses on oral techniques that offer an appropriate style to express multiplicity.

This thesis is divided into four chapters. The first chapter focuses on the genre of muwaššah and highlights the aspects of orality and bilingualism. The second chapter discusses Ryoko Sekiguchi’s poetic project that shows the need for new standards of creativity. The poet regards bilingual thinking as a significant basis in representing contemporary transcultural reality and finds muwaššah poetry to be an appropriate source of inspiration. The third chapter studies Etel Adnan’s unique bilingualism that includes painting and words. The fact that Adnan is not fluent in Arabic, her mother tongue, leads her to invent her own language. The poet insists on the connection between her painting and the Arabic language, and her usage of colors and poetic images confirms her statement. The fourth chapter examines the performance and written poetry of Suheir Hammad. Oral features appear as an essential element in her poetry, and this high level of orality represents an excellent embodiment of transculturation.

The three chapters that discussed contemporary poetry shed light on the similarities and differences between oral techniques appearing in the Andalusian genre and in contemporary poetry. The significance of orality in this research leads to emphasizing the necessary study of performance when approaching the works of these contemporary poets. In the last chapter, I employ digital tools to study vocal aspects such as intonation and pauses. The digital analysis helps in understanding the influence of performance on the poetic experience. Additionally, digital technology, in general, has a strong impact on contemporary cultural practices that impact literary productions. This consideration of the cultural shift and transcultural manifestations occur as a key contribution of this study.

Date

3-18-2019

Committee Chair

Otero, Solimar

Available for download on Monday, March 23, 2026

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