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Do not ask how? – A Critical Stylistic Approach to Sherko Bekas’ Poem ‘The Martyrs’ Wedding’

Dr. Mahmood K. Ibrahim & Dr. Ulrike Tabbert,

Department of English Language, College of Art Imam Ja’afar Al.Sadiq University, Iraq & Department of Humanities, University of Huddersfield, The United Kingdom

During the time of Ba’athist Iraq (1968-2003), an incident occurred in Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas’ hometown Sulaimaniyah. Three students were shot dead on December 17, 1985. Their deaths prompted Bekas to write his poem “The Martyrs’ Wedding”. This paper, approaches the linguistic construction of the three martyred students by using the framework of Critical Stylistics (Jeffries 2010). This approach is a further development of a stylistic analysis of poetry and especially suits to detect ideological meaning in the text as Bekas used the art of poetic writing to express his political stance on the murders. This analysis focuses on the repeated use of “three” in pre-modifying positions when naming the students on negation foregrounded most prominently in eleven repetitions of the phrase “Do not ask (how)”. The present paper shows a way to decipher Bekas political statement by means of a detailed stylistic analysis and another critical view is added because this text is one of those that has the ‘power to influence us’ (Jeffries, 2010 p. 1).

Keywords: Poetry, Critical Stylistics, Sherko Bekas, Iraq


The above abstract is a part of the article which was accepted at The Seventh International Conference on Languages, Linguistics, Translation and Literature (WWW.LLLD.IR), 11-12 June 2022, Ahwaz.