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World Beat: International Poetry Essay

Autor:   •  February 29, 2016  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,610 Words (7 Pages)  •  620 Views

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ENG 160

TuThurs 3:30

Professor Ansel

World Beat Essay

Dunya Mikhail, born and raised in Iraq, is a poet whose poetry is heavily influenced by her war and life experiences. She worked as a translator and journalist for the Baghdad Observer in Iraq before being placed on Saddam Hussein’s enemy list which led to her immigration to the United States in the 1990s. As you read her poems you notice a lot of textual evidence proving that her war and life experiences have had a major impact on her writing style and topics. Mikhail says herself, “As a female poet, I had a different style of writing and my war poetry was more concerned with the impact of war on the home, on the street, and on the soul.” Through mainly irony, metaphors, and imagery, Mikhail is able to convey themes of war, exile, and loss in her poems in a very unique style of writing.

Mikhail’s “The War Works Hard” is filled with irony and imagery that really gives the reader a feel for what she was experiencing in Iraq. She starts off the poem with a very sarcastic tone by saying that the war is very eager and efficient then goes on to describe the dispatching of ambulances and corpses that the war causes. She uses a metaphor to compare the summoning of rain to the tears of the mothers to show how badly the war has affected the community. Her use of imagery when she describes the dead bodies as lifeless and glistening compliments her attempt to expose the war for all of the destruction that it has caused.

Mikhail carries her sarcastic tone throughout the poem with her fantastic use of lines as units. It is most affective when she writes “It [war] contributes to the industry…of artificial limbs” and “[war] builds new houses…for the orphans”. These lines of the poem are extremely powerful as they amplify the irony of the “war working hard” for all of the wrong reasons. Towards the end of the poem Mikhail personifies the war as she writes that the war “paints a smile on the leaders face”. This line proves to me that even the leader can’t be proud of the war if he can’t even express true happiness when it’s all over. Mikhail strongly completes the poem by explaining that no one appreciates the war, which is proven repetitively throughout the poem with experiences in her life.

As you read Dunya Mikhail’s poetry, you notice that she uses a lot of metaphors and layered meaning. Her unique style didn’t necessarily originate from her creativity but her deceiving ability to hide meaning behind her poetry. Mikhail explains, “In Iraq, there was a department of censorship with actual employees whose job was to watch ‘public morals’ and decided what you should read and write. Every writer needed approval first before publishing. That’s why


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