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Literature and Nation in the Middle East$
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Yasir Suleiman and Ibrahim Muhawi

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748620739

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620739.001.0001

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The Production of Locality in the Oral Palestinian Poetry Duel

The Production of Locality in the Oral Palestinian Poetry Duel

(p.16) 1 The Production of Locality in the Oral Palestinian Poetry Duel
Literature and Nation in the Middle East

Nadia Yaqub

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores how some Palestinians use a traditional poetic genre, namely the oral Palestinian poetry duel, continually to create and maintain their Palestinian-ness and to define it, at least among themselves, on their own terms. It begins by describing in very general terms the poetry in question. The Palestinian poetry duel consists of two or more poets who compose and sing in turn, each following strict rules of rhyme, metre, form and musical melody. The poetry studied here is typically performed in northern Palestine (The Galilee, parts of the Triangle, and northern areas of the West Bank) and are usually performed on public celebrations, most often village weddings. It is traditionally a rural phenomenon and is performed by and for men, although increasingly one finds it performed at gatherings that may include women as well. The poetry is sung, usually without musical accompaniment. The most striking feature of Palestinian oral poetry is that many lines in these poems are borrowed directly from the mundanity of phatic exchanges from Palestinian daily speech. However, it is within these sections of the performance, at least in part as a result of their phaticity, that the production of a distinctly Palestinian locality takes place.

Keywords:   Palestinians, Palestinian poetry duel, traditional poetic genre, Palestinian-ness, Palestinian locality

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