Date of Award


First Advisor

Daniel Neilson

Second Advisor

Francisca Oyogoa


The project engages with how Yemenis depict the beauty of their homeland as a paradise and their yearning for the promise of spring, a return to home and a return to the utopic past of the Bedouins, of the time of the Prophet, and the century preceding Islam. In this manner, the writing grounds itself on the nature of the relationship between a spatial and temporal return, both expressing nostalgia for land that once was but is no longer the paradise of paradises . It’s motivated by the Arab pursuit of retrieving and parsing out our past in poetic form for the hopes in order to understand ourselves and our present. Study of the ‘ancient’ poetic work has brought to light themes of movement and nostalgia for a home embraced by divinity that have been present for a very long time in the Arab consciousness, discussions including nomadic versus settler culture, exile at home and abroad, and identity construction. Through metaphor, repetition, and vivid imagery, the poetry analyzed simultaneously allows for reflection of experience and the construction of self through time formed from memory and history. The poetic form becomes a topic of discussion in relation to the power bestowed upon the words of a poet who knows how to balance the holy formula between content and poetic form, and can have a large impact on their community. Alongside an investigation of the poetic tools deployed, other overarching themes and rhetorics will come to the surface to provide a more dynamic approach to reading the poetic works. A question I return to throughout the writing is concerned with the epistemology of home and how the poets can manifest their memories of home in poetry to feel whole and gain personhood: how does memory allow for reflection on time and place that functions to produce a coherent narrative of self, home, and time?

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