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Dewdrops on Embers:Deconstructing the Chequered Tropes of Existential Agonies in Contemporary Arab American Poetry

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Organizer: Rakhi Vyas

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Dewdrops on Embers : Deconstructing the Chequered Tropes of Existential Agonies in Contemporary Arab American Poetry

                      “..Now we walk out into the tunnel of days

                            And a million memories rustle..”

                                                     Lisa Suhair Majaj, Geographies of Light

   Though the emergence of Arab American literature can be traced back to the 19th century with the exodus of the Arab immigrants into the American soil, the recent decades have proffered a palpable proliferation in their literature, and stamped it out as a significant and vocal literary genre on account of the shifting political as also socio-cultural paradigms. Constantly grappling with  existential ambivalence while living in America, whilst also somehow working out their own ethnic affirmations and diasporic sensibilities, the Arab American writers post 1967 brought out a polyphonic symphony of verses/poetry negotiating poetic spaces of ethnicity, nostalgia, rootlessness, identity crisis , mnemonics, racial prejudices, feminist concerns and more to weave a stunning tapestry of their lived experiences in a ‘foreign’ land. Poets like Mohja Kahf, Naomi  Shihab Nye, Susan Abulhawa, Lisa Suhair Majaj, Nathalie Handal, Pauline Kaldas, Hedy Habra, Suheir Hammad, Elmaz Abinader are some of the numerous leading poetic voices of the contemporary Arab American poetry landscape voicing out their existential bewilderment, pain, melancholy and sweet longings in the vast canvas of their poetic expression.

  The present ACLA call for papers/abstracts proposes a brainstorming or rather heart-storming of the whole wide spectrum of poetry dished out by the contemporary Arab American writers to delve into the kaleidoscopic dilemma and an intriguing funambulism that they have been experiencing for a long time now.  The intellectual endeavour seeks to revisit, through the analysis of the poets’ verses, the labyrinth of their emotional odyssey traversing pathways of ethnic struggles, isolation, rebellion, questioning, hopelessness, homelessness, cultural cacophony, imaginary homelands, ephemeral reliefs and claiming of their light to make an efficacious premise for diasporic dilemma specifically in context of the Arabs living in America, and also that of the human predicament at large when confronted with fateful forces of migration, displacement and assimilation  in an alien soil.   


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