Towards a Transnational Identity: A Study of Selected Poems from Nathalie Handal’s The Lives of Rain and Poet in Andalucía

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Saudi Digital Library
"The present study examines Natalie Handal’s development of a transnational identity. Analysis of selected poems from The Lives of Rain and Poet in Andalucía has proved that Handal moves from the specific to the general and the personal to the universal. Moving from Palestine, her ancestors’ homeland to different parts of the globe, Handal tackles themes of occupation, displacement, alienations, marginalization and coexistence through the tropes of migration and memory. The constant traveling and relocation are two main influences that shaped her identity and therefore her poetry which reflects a multicultural personality that is able to connect and identify with different cultural and ethnic minorities in the diaspora. The researcher has adopted the historical/biographical approach to explore the different historical and biographical elements that contributed to The Lives of Rain (2005) and Poet in Andalucía (2012) as the latter can be considered as continuum to the former as it also suggests a possible solution that the poet opts for. Homi Bhabha’s theoretical concepts of hybridity, thirdspace and in-between were used as critical lenses for analysis. Being brought up in the diaspora, the poet tries to connect to Palestine through her family’s memories of the occupied territories and the stories told by other Palestinians living inside and outside Palestine. The Lives of Rain speaks of the Land, its cities, its people and the various locations that diasporic Palestinians around the world live in. Poet in Andalucía, on the other hand, expresses Handal’s inability to separate the different and sometimes controversial parts of her identity. She is like Andalucía; a symbol of cultural hybridity. The collection emphasizes the importance of Medieval Andalusia as a space of negotiation where supposedly opposing religions, ethnicities, and cultures found a way of achieving tolerance and coexistence."