The ghosts that visit us as we dream and Figurative homelands: second-generation immigrant experiences in North American contemporary poetry
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date30/11/2021
The Ghosts That Visit Us as We Dream is a poetic manuscript that observes my family’s immigration from Tanzania to Canada. The poems are voiced from a variety of familial perspectives to capture how identity reforms and transforms throughout generations. Several of the poems were written as part of my research trip to Tanzania in January 2019, while others meditate on my experiences of growing up in Alberta, Canada. This manuscript principally employs repetitions and figurations of the natural world to reflect on wider themes of womanhood, belonging, cultural dissonance, loss, homeland, and spirituality. Water, in all its forms, becomes one of the collection’s major metaphors, representing liminality, crossings, and time as recursive. My work traverses the borders between the imaginary, the inherited, and the present moment. Figurative Homelands: Second-generation Immigrant Experiences in North American Contemporary Poetry examines how second-generation immigrants figuratively represent their North American and ancestral homelands in poetry. It includes a critical analysis of the poetic works of South Asian, Muslim second-generation immigrants, Kazim Ali, Fatimah Asghar and Tarfia Faizullah, and evaluates how they fuse the literal with the figurative in order to explore, give expression to, and take ownership of multidimensional identities. It examines the poetics of diaspora, specifically considering second-generation immigrant diasporic identities, from a multidirectional approach. Moreover, it builds upon the framework of what Sadia Abbas calls the “new Islam,” and examines how figurative homelands are constructed within the context of conflictual experiences arising from Islamophobia in the period following 9/11. This research also evaluates how second-generation immigrants craft figurative homelands using intergenerational storytelling and childhood remembrances. Additionally, it examines how loss manifests for writers who live in liminality, and how contradictory experiences or multiplicity are illustrated by gaps in both a poem’s formal structure and its conceptual landscape.