Thursday, 6 November 2008

Imprisoned Poetry [UPDATED]

Déjeuner du matin, Jacques Prévert [Paroles: 1946]

Il a mis le café .. He pored the coffee
Dans la tasse .. In the cup
Il a mis le lait .. He pored the milk
Dans la tasse de café .. In the cup of coffee
Il a mis le sucre .. He put a piece of sugar
Dans le café au lait .. In the laté
Avec la petite cuiller .. With a little spoon
Il a tourné .. He turned
Il a bu le café au lait .. He drank the laté
Et il a reposé la tasse .. And he rested the cup
Sans me parler .. Without me speaking

Il a allumé .. He lit
Une cigarette .. A cigarette
Il a fait des ronds .. He made circles
Avec la fumée .. With smoke
Il a mis les cendres .. And put the ashes
Dans le cendrier .. In the ashtray
Sans me parler .. Without me speaking
Sans me regarder .. Without me looking
Il s'est levé .. He stood
Il a mis .. He put
Son chapeau sur sa tête .. His hat on his head
Il a mis son manteau de pluie .. He put his rain coat
Parce qu'il pleuvait .. Because it was raining
Et il est parti .. And he left
Sous la pluie .. under the rain
Sans une parole .. without a word
Sans me regarder .. without me looking
Et moi j'ai pris .. And I have taken
Ma tête dans ma main .. My head in my hand
Et j'ai pleuré .. And I've cried

مع جريدة، نزار قباني [قصائد: 1956]

أخرجَ من معطفهِ الجريده.. he brought out the journal from his coat
وعلبةَ الثقابِ and the matchbox
ودون أن يلاحظَ اضطرابي.. and without noticing my anxiety
ودونما اهتمامِ without care
تناولَ السكَّرَ من أمامي.. he took the sugar
ذوَّب في الفنجانِ قطعتين he diluted two pieces in the cup
ذوَّبني.. ذوَّب قطعتين he diluted me.. diluted two pieces
وبعدَ لحظتين and after two moments
ودونَ أن يراني without looking at me
ويعرفَ الشوقَ الذي اعتراني.. and knowing the longing
تناولَ المعطفَ من أمامي he took the coat
وغابَ في الزحامِ and disappeared in the crowd
مخلَّفاً وراءه.. الجريده leaving behind, the journal
lonely وحيدة
مثلي أنا.. وحيده like me .. lonely

Last summer my friend and I were reading for Gilles Deleuze. One of our understandings from his essay on Hume is that beauty in our perception of life resides in the impersonality of human productions or projections.

"Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" is a bestselling novel by Gregory McGuire which is a parallel novel of L.Frank Baum's classic story "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". "Wicked" takes the worst character in Baum's story and tells its biography before Dorothy comes in the setting, picturing her as one of a bad luck in her childhood. This is one example of Gilles Deleuze ideas on the subject, in which it is no matter whose idea was the land of Oz, but how much it can afford more stories and angles.

Impersonality is a concept that implies that we have the tendency to become 'one' and thus our childhood memory can stretch back to ancient stages of history to reach Greek mythologies. It may even reach minimal signs of human existence, so it needs a plastic process of thinking through time. It needs a cinematic flow in thinking, writing or generally expressing.

"why don't you like Tawfeeq Al-Hakeem?"
"Because most of his plays stolen from those sold in the streets of Paris"

There is a radical change in poetry during the 20th century. Photography and cinema have great effects to change literature and specifically poetry from Romanticism to Modernism in both Western and Arab regions, from a narrative poem to an movement or time poem. People had different ideals; Communism, Capitalism and struggling Colonial dreams. Cinema in its capability of cutting and interrupting events are more likely to reflect life and its complexities than romantic poems.

With everything becoming touched, heard and seen. feelings are no longer internal, they become surface -it might be described as technique- a person can easily get influenced, translate, imitate and experiment. The production of a poet is 'value' and poets experiment with values, eclectic agitations, yet remains one critical point of history; that it is multiple in nature. Events happened ten years ago can transform now into a more complex event.

What I call 'translations' made by Tawfeeq Al-Hakeem cannot express any cross-cultural context. You see pure Egypt, pure Arabic habits. He imitated French complexities in an Egyptian setting, but we don't see a cross-cultural layer that he is a part of it, we didn't see his travels within the writing.

Qabbani, is a politician and a poet. Purely wants to convey a message or to be heard. He didn't want to experiment with techniques like al-Sayyab or Nazik al-Mala'ika who represented the techniques of western poets in new ways. They understood the values expressed on the surface. It is the use of words that stimulated him, to translate mainly. I think imitators of value are students, worshipers and slaves, but in modernism because value is exposed on the surface, worshipers are easy to find.

[... The use of dramatic elements, such as dialogue, soliloquy and slogans, is borrowed from Western poetry. In fact, critics have suggested that these devices of using snatches of conversation and fleeting images -superficially unconnected- to give a comprehensive picture of an event or emotional situation are borrowed from psychology and film techniques...
Nizar Qabbani also employed the soliloquies of ladies in erotic moods, as in his poems Risala min Sayyida Haqida, Hubla, Aw'iyat al-Sadid, etc. In these poems Qabbani imitated modern French poets, mainly Jacques Prévert, to such an extent that Qabbani's poem Ma'a Jarida was described by some critics as a free translation and plagiarism of Prévert's poem '
Déjeuner du matin' in his Paroles.]*

"Can you imagine!"
"Can you imagine, that another book described the influence of Pre-Islamic poems on western poetry."

Yes I can imagine, there will be always a chain of influence, the only change here is that modern literature is naked; there is no hidden or aspired moral like in romanticism. Value in romanticism is subjective, thus the influence was defused. No one can bring up a similar trigger of the true value.

This makes me believe that the value in Qabbani's poem revealed more about modern poetry than anything else. I agree with the critics that it is a free translation of the poem. He wrote it in a woman's point of view, he imitates the setting, the weather, and the actions. There is one thing he didn't get which is the thing I couldn't imagine; ten years of difference between both poems, but nothing was added. Not even him. This results a rather imprisoned poetry than a so called 'free'.

To appreciate and develop modern literature we seek parallelism and the growth of complexities derived from time, events, cross-culture, motion, statics and the multiplicities of ego.

*Modern Arabic poetry 1800-1970:The Development of Its Forms and Themes Under the Influence of Western Literature, by Shmuel Moreh, Published by Brill Archive, 1976.
additional reference: المرشد إلى فهم أشعار العرب و صناعتها، في الأغراض و الأساليب، عبدالله الطيب- الجزء الرابع (القسم الثاني) - ١٩٩٦


iDip said...

I was thinking of Nizar's مع جريدة
While reading the first one

I couldn't believe it, I thought you were translating it to french & english... but I felt something wasn't in place

apparently what I thought was in place... wasn't!
Anyway, It's early to judge before reading your review.

Purplecious said...

Mon Dieu!!!

tawarod afkar? 3ad i love this song

Deema said...

you can't imagine the findings after my further search!

inshallah I can establish the vision in my head in the review.


Dhuha said...


are u pointing a finger at Nizar?!!

See, mayb Nizar shaf the french and that lady in that cafe.. then, he get inspired by the moment!

mmm... and after 10 years, he decided to write about it!
Obviously, without knowing that that french man was "Jacques Prévert"... who wrote about the same moment with his lady


got it?

well.. if u did

then I didNOT


the one and only thing that can never ever be shared with or happened to more than one person is his/her own fingerprints!

I can prove this by the following:




i appreciate ur work & waiting for ur review ;)

enjoyed it wayed :*

Dhuha said...

BTW... r7tay 7g TAMARA??

I missed it :(

Someday said...

Alright thats what I pronounce as a complete analysis, with a display of the problem reasons and way forward! You are setting the bar to a higher level!;)

Deema said...

there is a difference...

o ma ri7t Tamara, ri7t ilba7ar instead :P

finally after a week of thinking rethinking and research.