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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Maya Abu al-Hayyat (born 1980) is a Palestinian poet who thematizes motherhood, love, war/revolution, grief, and political hypocrisy in her poetry. In the context of Palestinian literature, she fits within a tradition of Resistance Literature, yet redefines it. Given that al-Hayyat has not been widely translated into English, this thesis presents 33 translations of her poems taken from her three poetry collections: Mā qālathu fīhī (Thus Spake the Beloved, 2007), Tilka al-ibtisāma-- dhālika al-qalb (This Smile, That Heart, 2012), and Fasātīn baytīyya wa ḥurūb (House Dresses and Wars, 2016). Throughout these three collections the poet shifts her use of vocalization and her poetic techniques. As argued throughout, translating al-Hayyat into English is important because it marks a shift from resistance as a uniform, collective experience to an individual and multifaceted one.

Additionally, in this thesis I argue that the speakers in al-Hayyat's poetry are anxious agents. I interpret the speakers’ anxiety as manifested in the body and caused in part by living under occupation. The speakers are agents because they criticize patriotic motherhood and gender-based inequality. Finally, I explain how the translation concepts of renarration and the deformation zone inform each other because they force the translator confront their position in society and to the text. These terms are significant because they address the anxiety of translators potentially enacting orientalist violence and catering to American poetry values when translating Arabic women's poetry into English.


First Advisor

Rachel Green

Second Advisor

Corine Tachtiris

Third Advisor

Svati Shah

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.