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Abstract

In her comparative study “Trauma, History, and Terror in the Poetry of Yusef Komunyakaa and Sinan Antoon,” Hessa A. Alghadeer considers the work of the African American poet Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1941) and the (Arab) Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon (b. 1967) through the lens of trauma theory of some notable theorists including; Freud, Cathy Caruth, Jean Laplanche, Roger Luckhurst, and Shoshana Felman—have negotiated in this field. The article explores the literary manifestations of trauma in two distinct historical periods and geographical settings to show the specificities of each prototype and how the historical-cultural significance and textual meanings of trauma have intertwined into a plural space. Drawing upon a cluster of selected poems, the article investigates through textual analysis how Komunyakaa and Antoon bring to light, articulate, and address their historic traumas, and how they elaborate similar discourses of trauma across their distinct cultures. The article thereby underlines the power of the poetic word and image to unveil several complex manifestations of trauma. It asserts that these two poets are situated within a global context that empowers the poetic voice and brings vitality to the predicaments of the traumatized subjects through a broad sense of connectivity and belonging regardless of their distinct histories, cultures, and homelands.

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