This article introduces, for the first time, the marginalized writings of Israeli-statehood-generation poet Maxim Ghilan (1931–2005), who lived in self-exile in Paris as a result of his political activism. By investigating the relationship between lyric poetry and nationalism, the article introduces Ghilan’s early poetry, followed by a close analysis of his groundbreaking and understudied poem “In Enemy Land,” written upon his return to Israel. Ghilan’s poetry overturns nationalist discourse by revisiting the events of 1948 and evoking the dual notion of return, namely, the Israeli Law of Return and the Palestinian Right of Return. In an effort to contribute to New Lyric Studies, the article offers a new form of lyric reading, the “trans-national lyric,” a hyphenated form of transnationalism used to emphasize crossing over and moving beyond the nation. The trans-national lyric dismantles the lyric speaker’s sovereign position and consequently uncovers the silent — and silenced — dialogic voices that are an inseparable part of the genre. The article concludes with an analysis of lyric address and the ethical role of reading, whereby readers are implicated in the process of forced remembering and historical revision.
Lyric, Nation, and Dialogism: Uncovering the Lost Voice of Maxim Ghilan
Morani Kornberg is a writer, scholar, and artist whose work revolves around the violent legacies of colonialism, transnational feminism, Israeli and Palestinian relations, and the ability of art to transform the social imagination. She teaches postcolonial literatures and theory at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has published a collection of poems, Dear Darwish (2014), and is currently developing two television shows.
Morani Kornberg; Lyric, Nation, and Dialogism: Uncovering the Lost Voice of Maxim Ghilan. Poetics Today 1 December 2020; 41 (4): 595–617. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-8720085
Download citation file: