Cultural Identity Past and Present: Poetic Imagination of Muhammad Haji Salleh

By Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya, Forough Barani, Arbaayah Ali Termizi and Emily Abd Rahman.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Poetry, a medium through which human channels his/her feelings and attitudes, has long been the magic mirror reflecting a person’s individual ties with culture and society. As the reader is invited to the real or imaginary world of the poet, he/she traverses the realm of poetry and initiates a journey in search of his/her own soul and identity. This symbolic representation of life as a linear process, communicating past and present in the context of cultural and social heritage of one’s homeland, is truly depicted in Muhammad Haji Salleh’s poems. The extended metaphor of a man in his journey seeking the ultimate truth of his essence is the main theme of his poetry. Through the power of initiative imagination and synthesis, Muhammad Haji Salleh’s poetic images give the reader an insight to his nostalgia that roots in his past colonial experience. His double-consciousness between his past and present is of key importance in identifying the individual and cultural background. The persona of his poetry is quite conscious that in order to find his “self” he needs to accept his past. This study attempts to scrutinize Muhammad Haji Salleh’s poetry through logical and analytical examination of his poetic images to determine the cultural influence of in his poetry of spiritual journey from illusion to illumination and self-discovery.

Keywords: Culture, Identity, Malay Poetry

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 12, pp.13-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.170MB).

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya

Senior Lecturer, Department of English, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She is involved in several researches dealing with literature & culture, psychoanalysis & literature, literature in ESL, and diasporic literature.

Forough Barani

Postgraduate Researcher, Department of English, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Forough Barani obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Guilan University in Iran in 2005. Her major fields of interest are “Dialogism” and “Dialogical Self” in both modern and contemporary philosophy. She is also interested in the application of other theories to literature such as psychoanalysis and linguistics. At present she is pursuing her Master of Arts degree in English Literature in University Putra Malaysia.

Dr. Arbaayah Ali Termizi

Senior Lecturer, English Language Department, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Arbaayah Ali Termizi (PhD) is currently a senior lecturer with the English Department of Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her main research interest lies in areas related to Shakespeare’s studies particularly in the illustrations of texts and staging aspects of the plays. In addition she is also interested in studies related to incorporating the art of drama performances in the teaching of Shakespeare’s texts.

Emily Abd Rahman

Research Student, School of Arts, Languages and Literacies, , Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Emily Abd Rahman is a research student in the School of Arts, Languages and Literacies, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is interested in studies related to English Literature, Teaching of English as a Foreign Language and application of western theories to literary texts.


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