A Study of the Vernacular Poetry of Aḥmad Fuʼād Nigm
This study provides an analysis of the social and political meanings in the protest vernacular poetry of A?mad Fu'ad Nigm (b. 1929), the contemporary Eqyptian socialist poet. Nigm's work portrays Eqypt as a society composed of contending social forces and it is concerned with the cause of liberating Egypt from class inequality and political oppression. For Nigm, the way to achieve such liberation is through a people's revolution that will ultimately pave the way for a new socialist society. Nigm's commitment to the causes of his society is enhanced by his use of the simple, yet evocative, colloquial, an idiom which is close to the mind and heart of Egypt's poor and illiterate people. Moreover, Nigm deftly utilises different folk poetic forms, folk idioms and pungent witticisms to convey his socialist message. Consequently, Nigm's poetry enjoys wide popularity in Egypt, especially when sung to the melodious tune of the 'ud by Shaykh Imam, Nigm's partner. Being an example of genuine popular expression, Nigm's protest appears to pose a challenge to the political establishment, which considers Nigm as a "provocateur," as well as to the majority of scholars to whom vernacular works have no place in their canonical definition of "high" literature.
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