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National Consciousness in Postcolonial Iraqi Poetry

Baaqeel, Ghosun (2020) National Consciousness in Postcolonial Iraqi Poetry. Master of Research (MRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.105579) (KAR id:105579)


This thesis analyses how Iraqi national consciousness is represented in twentieth- and twenty-first century postcolonial Iraqi poetry through the work of Iraqi poets, Badr Shaker al-Sayyab (1926-1964), Nazik Al-Malaika (1923-2007), and Dunya Mikhail (b.1965). Acknowledged to be the founders of the Iraqi Free Verse Movement, both Sayyab and Malaika were supporters of the nationalist cause at a time when Iraq was attempting to come to terms with the realities of independence from colonialism. In ways similar to Malaika, Mikhail also wrote Sihr Halal poetry, chronicling the war and its destruction throughout Iraq during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. After being persecuted under Iraqi censorship laws, Mikhail immigrated to the United States and continued writing poetry, focusing on her experiences as a refugee, expressing how this affected her feelings toward her home country of Iraq. Specifically, this thesis analyzes the poems, “The Blind Prostitute,” by Sayyab, “I” and “Cholera,” by Malaika, and “The War Works Hard” and “America,” by Mikhail to demonstrate how each poet reflects their own sense of Iraqi national consciousness in their verse through the application of postcolonial theorist, Frantz Fanon’s theories of colonialism, post-colonialism, and nationalism. Overall, the main focus of this thesis is how the post-colonial experience of Iraq can be understood through Iraqi poetry and its influence on Iraqi national consciousness, through the often similar, yet different, perspectives of these three Iraqi poets. Most importantly, this thesis seeks to address the lack of research into how Arab literature has defined and shaped ideas of postcolonial Iraqi national consciousness.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Research (MRes))
Thesis advisor: Whittle, Matthew
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.105579
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2024 08:01 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2024 10:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Baaqeel, Ghosun.

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