2. What is Contemporary Poetry?
Contemporary poetry is a poetry which was
written after the 1920s.During this period
there was a lot of experiment and innovation
in poetic genre. Contemporary poetry
broked the traditional rules associated with
poetry. It exercised a great freedom to the
poet in the choice of themes. This genre of
poetry was associated with various literary
3. Some of the Features of contemporary
Traditional “poetic diction” and regular
metre have been discarded.
A language with the flow and turns of
common speech is mostly exposed.
Free verse is mostly used.
Borrowings from other culture.
Unconventional use of metaphors.
• The word Diaspora derives from the Greek word meaning
“to disperse”. Diaspora is simply the displacement of a
community/culture into another geographical and cultural
• Diaspora, is therefore, a scattering of the seed in the wind,
the fruits of which are a new creation and a fight to survive.
• In particular, undergoing diaspora means to re-examine the
meaning of home, its different senses of where, what, and
• Every diasporic movement holds a historical significance, as
it carries within itself the kernel of the Nations’s history.
• Diaspora is a journey towards self-realization, self-
recognition, self-knowledge and self-definition.
5. Chief characteristics of diaspora
Quest for identity
Nagging sense of
6. Importance of diasporic writers
• The diasporic writers turn to their homeland for various
• Writers of the Diaspora write in relation with the culture of
their homeland and at the same time adopt and negotiate
with the cultural space of the host land.
• Diasporic writers live on the margins of two countries and
create cultural theories.
• Interestingly, the terms ‘diaspora’, ‘exile’ alienation’,
‘expatriation’, are synonymous and possess an ambiguous
status of being both a refugee and an ambassador.
• The two roles being different, the diasporic writers attempt at
doing justice to both.
• As a refugee, he seeks security and protection and as an
ambassador projects his own culture and helps enhance its
8. Features of Diaspora
The shift, contrast and relation between centre
The Memory: the childhood landscapes, historical
events and places.
The sense of alienation in new
Features of homeland-language/rituals, forms of
Reclamation of history of the homeland and
Ambivalence between seeking
acceptance/assimilation in the new cultures.
9. CONTEMPORARY POEMS WITH
-Claude McKay, 1889 - 1948
Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.
10. The borders were time stopped
- Hasheemah Afaneh
Where did the time stop?
At the crossing of borders, I presume.
Was it when I stuck
The yellow stickers on my three bags
Filled with memories, za’atar,
And my favorite childhood chocolate,
Was it at the border
Where they’d tell me to forget
what I left behind
And that I must bid farewell to Israel?
They hoped I had a wonderful visit –
As if my home was a vacation spot.
Was it at the border
Where you took my identity card to
….another background check?
Was it at the border
when the mosque was calling
For the morning prayer
And my family was returning without
To the land that can never leave me?
I will never be sure.
The watch forever reads: 4:01:18.
I will never be sure if it was
AM or PM,
If it was the early morning in the
Or the minute I arrived to a place
that doesn’t want to understand me.
Did time stop at the crossing of
Did it stop to remind me what I left
And would return to?
11. Refugee blues
-W .H .Auden
Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place
Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there
In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't
The consul banged the table and said,
"If you've got no passport you're officially dead":
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.
Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall
we go to-day?
Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread":
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of
you and me.
Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying, "They must die":
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his
Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they
weren't German Jews.
Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.
Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they
weren't the human race.
Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of
them was ours.
Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you