MESA Banner
What the Poem Knows: Poetic Knowledge in the Works of Muḥammad Bennīs, Abdelkabīr Khaṭibī, and Aimé Césaire
Abstract by Lubna Safi On Session X-28  (Drama and Story)

On Saturday, November 4 at 5:30 pm

2023 Annual Meeting

This paper examines the concept of poetic knowledge as it emerges in Muḥammad Bennīs’s “Bayān al-kitāba”, Abdelkabīr Khaṭibī’s Le lutteur de class à la manière taoïste” and Aimé Césaire’s “Poésie et connaisance”. Drawing on close readings of these works, all of which engage in some way with the manifesto genre, I show that for Bennīs, Khaṭibī, and Césaire, poetic knowledge converges in the poetic image as a way of engaging, interpreting, and ultimately retrieving a sedimented sense of the world through language that is both vivid and open to interpretation. The poetic image thus offers a way of accessing knowledge that has been occluded by hegemonic forms of knowing. By creating and guiding a reader’s vision of the world, the poetic image can destabilize dominant ways of seeing and open up possibilities for new interpretation and understanding in order to cast off imposed epistemologies, and perhaps most importantly, lead towards political action. I argue that the concept of poetic knowledge is both a powerful locus for understanding the complex and interconnected issues that animate each of these thinker’s works as well as an access point for elaborating upon theoretical connections among thinkers of the Global South. Ultimately, I conclude that poetic knowledge conceptually allows Bennīs, Khaṭibī, and Césaire to unpack the disruptive force of the poetic image in a way that seriously connects aesthetic experience to various possibilities of liberation.
Geographic Area
Sub Area