Writing the Article

After getting back to the States in mid-June after such an amazing experience in Paris and Naples, it was time to start synthesizing my research and analyses of poetry and write my article!

The only humanities courses I have taken at William and Mary so far were literature courses and the longest paper I had written for any of them was 10 pages, so I had to go on a trip down memory lane back to high school to remind myself what it was like to write a 30-40 page research paper. Even though it took me a day or two to get into the groove of the process, it felt like no time had passed after I got into the swing of things. Within 3 weeks, I had my first draft and I felt full (for lack of a better word). At that point, I put it aside for a week before beginning the editing/revising process.

I wanted my paper to address more than just Nada Skaff’s poetry, but the general landscape of Lebanese francophone poetry as well. Moreover, I wanted to make my readings of Skaff’s poetry more robust and give them something that went beyond my own close readings. I poured over my shelves in my room and pulled out books on literary and poetic theory, Mediterranean history, and Lebanese history. I gave criticism on Nadia Tueni’s poetry a second look and I went through the pile of books I checked out from Swem to see what other academic treasures I could find. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it felt inspiring and almost empowering to incorporate the resources from France’s national library, Swem, and my own library into this paper!

I decided to begin the paper with a brief history of Lebanese francophone literature. I ended up organizing it by the literary trends that developed after the 18th century in the canon. The biggest chunk of the paper was dedicated to Skaff’s poetry and although I could have gone on for pages incorporating every poem from her collection, I chose the ones I felt were the most pertinent to my research. There are so many other poems that touched me on an emotional level that I wish I could have discussed, but I guess I will have to leave them for another endeavor.

The last section was a very brief look at today’s francophone writing in Lebanon. This could have taken up the entire paper, but my goal was to just how the reader that this canon really is rich and growing and that there is so much more to be studied. Hopefully with an honors thesis on Nadia Tueni, I can delve a little deeper into this subject.

Next post I will talk about the editing/revising process and beginning my translation of the article into French!