AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number3.  August  2021                 Pp.70- 81

The Poetry of Darwish in the 1960s: Homeland and Exile

College of Arts, University of Surrey, UK
ELC, University of Bahrain, Bahrain


The early poetry of Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) is characterised by its overt resistance and confrontational tone against the Israeli forces. This research paper explores the themes of homeland and exile in Darwish’s poetry during the 1960s, tracing how the 1967 defeat has changed his poetic tone from the highly confrontational to the articulate conversational. It, therefore, contributes to the fields of literary criticism and Arab literary studies focusing on modern poetry of resistance. Although Darwish was still living on Palestinian lands during this period, he never felt at home, expressing his feelings of strangeness and suffering in a usurped land by force. The theoretical framework of Edward Said (1935-2003) is employed in this paper to question whether the themes of exile and homeland shape and reshape the Darwish’s understanding of resistance. Based on the analyses of this paper, Darwish’s poetry of resistance has dramatically changed due to his severe disappointment by the 1967 defeat, marking the collapse of Arab nationalism and its propaganda of the Arab homeland. Still, this shift does not affect Darwish’s rejection of the Israeli existence in Palestine. Instead, his poetry by the end of this decade still questions the violent and aggressive nature of the Israeli soldier despite Darwish’s intimate and human conversational style of his poems, thereby adding to the controversial analyses of Darwish’s poetics.

Cite as:

Mahfoodh, H. (2021). The Poetry of Darwish in the 1960s: Homeland and Exile.
Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (3)  .
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol5no3.6


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Hajar Mahfoodh is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Literature at the University of Surrey, the United Kingdom, working on exile and home in modern Arab poetry. She is also employed as an English lecturer at the University of Bahrain. Hajar is interested in modern literature, creative writing, and postcolonial theory, and she has published some of her experimental poetry.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7408-8015