Between Home and Exile A Reading of the Exilic Experience of the Iraqi Poet Adnan Al-Sayegh

Hana Khlaif Ghena


This paper aims at exploring the exilic experience of the Iraqi poet, Adnan Al-Sayegh whose involuntarily departure from his homeland, Iraq, in the early 1990s made him suffer a strong sense of estrangement, nostalgia, self-fragmentation and disconnection.  The paper is divided into three sections and a conclusion. Section one sheds light on the circumstances that forced Al-Sayegh into self-exile. Investigating these circumstances necessarily entails a discussion of the concept of exile, its nature and consequences, which is the subject of section two. Section three examines a number of poems that typically translates Al-Sayegh’s deep sense of dislocation and disaffection in his new host lands. The conclusion argues that exile as a physical, geographical, and psychological state of being is a ‘basic condition,’ in Al-Sayegh’s poetry and life.

Keywords: Exile, Iraq, Al-Sayegh, estrangement, and nostalgia

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