The poetics the Iraqi War: Between Discursive Conflicts and Diasporic Discourse


  • Otared Haidar



This study attempts to explore the contemporary poetic scene in Iraq during the last two decades that witnessed two prolonged wars, and to investigate its prospects and challenges. What prompted and motivated this study is the discursive tension going on across the poetic community in which the only commonplace seems to be the continuous complaint of both the poets and the critics about the shortage of support and of marginalization. The internal conflict across the poetic community focuses on two issues: the authentic portrayal of the situation in Iraq, and the poetic excellence. Drawing on many approaches taken from socio-cultural studies, textual studies and comparative poetics, the paper follows an interdisciplinary theoretical approach to defining and constructing the contemporary Iraqi cultural scene as a field meriting study by contextualizing a set of representative poetic texts. By studying and analyzing the literary and extra-literary relations of the text, this study aspires to define and classify the main trends and tendencies of the contemporary Iraqi poetry. Reading these texts within their sociocultural and institutional contexts will cast a light on the contemporary Iraqi poetic reading and writing culture which involves not only readers and writers, but also censors, publishing houses, official and unofficial authorities, newspapers, scholars, cultural administrations, and a host of other individuals and institutions besides. The critical reading of the poems aspires to manifest that in view of the general atmosphere of confusion and frustration during this period that witnessed the collapse of the cultural institution among other institutions, the contemporary Iraqi poetic discourse in Iraq hold some keys to the reading of the socio-cultural wartime experience, and more importantly it holds insights into what will follow in the post-war period. Keywords: Iraq War, Iraqi and international war poetry, Iraqi poets and literary critics, Iraqi media, discursive conflicts, home and diaspora, exilic literature, women writing.