‘History Engraved on his Shoulder’: A Comparative Study of the Influence of British First World War Poetry on Post 1980 Iraqi War Poetry "embargoed indefinitely"
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Abstract This study aims to compare British war poetry of the First World War with Iraqi poetry from the mid-20th century with special reference to Iraqi war poetry of the 1980’s Iraq-Iran War and the period that followed it. It will also investigate the influence of the designated British war poetry on the chosen body of Iraqi poetry. Through the comparison of sample poems the study presents, firstly, the direct influence of the British poetry of the Great War and its translation which formed the seeds of a more radical movement in Iraqi poetry during the 1980’s Iran/Iraq War and the period that followed it. The study also presents a comparison of the works of British and Iraqi civilian poets during and after the war time and their contribution in setting the ground for the younger generation to create more subversive poetic forms with special reference to women as influential characters and inspirations in their works. The moment of the 1980’s war marks the break with the clear direct influence of British war poetry and starts another phase of the comparison of a universal bond of similar reactions, conscious and unconscious expression reflecting the lives of the combatant group of men first and then of poets sharing a devastating war reality. The study reveals a remarkable, more radical change of poetic forms in Iraqi poetry between the time of the first seeds planted by the influence of translations from European poetry until the time of the Iran/Iraq war and the Gulf War in 1991 and the rise of the new nihilistic generation of the 1990s subverting war, politics and cultural life through their innovation in prose poem writing and its significance as an alternative space for their political and social subversion.
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