Abstract This study consists of an interpretation and full translation of a single poem by the contemporary Arab Egyptian poet Muḥammad ʿAfīfī Maṭar (1935-2010). The poet titles it Ṭardiyyah (Hunt Poem). With this title, the poem admits its link to the Umayyad-born and ʿAbbāsid-matured genre of the “poem of the courtly hunt,” ṭardiyyah . ʿAfīfī Maṭar’s understanding of his no longer courtly, modernist poem is therefore hermeneutically connected to his understanding of the old genre, informing his modern mythopoetic employ of the archaic motif of “the morning of the hunter.” This essay also discusses: ʿAfīfī Maṭar’s place among the European and American poets of radical Modernism, especially, regarding the mythopoetic stance of Wallace Stevens; the problem of the notorious difficulty and obscurity ( ṣuʿūbah and ghumūḍ ) of ʿAfīfī Maṭar’s poetic language; and the general search of modern Arab poets, among them Adūnīs, for a new poetic language. Finally, the essay singles out ʿAfīfī Maṭar’s Ṭardiyyah and his very personal mythopoesis as a total achievement in the presentation of a Modernist Arabic poem—an achievement analogous to Wallace Stevens’ “central poem,” that is, A Primitive like an Orb .
Journal of Arabic Literature – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2012
Keywords: ṭardiyyah ; hunt poem; Muḥammad ʿAfīfī Maṭar; ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Bayātī; Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī Ḥijāzī; qaṣīd ; Modernism; Modern Arabic poetry; Adūnīs; Jubrān Khalīl Jubrān; Saʿdī Yūsuf; Qāsim Ḥaddād; Juan Ramón Jiménez; Imruʾ al-Qays; poetic language; tafjīr al-lughah ; ghumūḍ ; badīʿ ; Abū Tammām; Abū Nuwās; al-Buḥturī; Ṭāhā Ḥusayn; maʿānī ; Wallace Stevens; Paul Celan; al-Mutanabbī; ʿAlī Ibn al-Jahm; Badr Shākir al-Sayyāb; Muʿallaqah ; Ibn al-Muʿtazz; Muḥammad Bannīs; quint-essence; ʿamūd al-shiʿr ; mythopoesis
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