(thesis advisor)New School (New York, N.Y.). Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program
June 25 2015
"asmarani: Poems"â€” asmarani (which loosely translates from Arabic to mean â€œbrown/dark-skinned person,â€ often used in song lyrics as a term of endearment) is a collection of poems investigating Black-Arabness through writing about (and in the voice of) the asmarani frequently addressed in the music of legendary Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez.
"Writing from a Third Culture: Literature Project"â€” For the â€œthird-culture kid,â€ the binary of here and there is significantly less defined, with the host land (â€œhereâ€) haunted & modified by the original homeland (â€œthereâ€), which is often more mythology than it is geographic reality. I believe it is it is important for â€œthird culture kidsâ€ to write, because the worlds on either side of the hyphen (in my case, Sudanese-American) do not have any ready-made narratives for us, and will often pretend that we do not exist. Theodor Adorno observes that â€œfor a man who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live.â€ In my third culture narrative, the Sudanese homeland and American host land are both fundamental to a transnational engagement with identityâ€”being Sudanese-American means collapsing the binary notion that I am either Sudanese or American, that I belong either here or there. In an interview with two generations of the Sudanese diaspora, the older generation spoke predominantly of the beauty of a long-lost Sudan, while the younger generation. my generation, focused primarily on their struggles with an inherited nostalgia for a place they have never encountered, that no longer exists. I find this paradox at the heart of third-culture identityâ€”the dilemma that occurs when where one is from is not the same as where one considers home. â€œExile [is] a misunderstanding between existence and bordersâ€ (Mahmoud Darwish). This project is an exploration of the negotiation of a world constructed in response to the loss of a world.
Safia Elhillo. asmarani/Writing from a Third Culture.
June 25 2015. The New School Creative Writing MFA program theses. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive
. Web. 20 May 2019
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