Syrian poetry in exile: the case of Wafai Laila

The social, economic, ecological, political, and religious hardships have forced many Syrian intellectuals to search for a safe haven. These struggles, both in their country of origin and host lands, have inspired many poets to explore topics documenting their trauma and loss. The majority of cultural production that has been produced since 2011 discusses themes, such as alienation, displacement, traumatic experience, liminality, and constructed subjectivities. Laila’s poetry focuses on the refugee experience, but rather than looking back at the losses of a former home his work dwells on the losses of the present; the dehumanizing experiences and the vilification refugees face in Europe where they have sought safe haven. This essay, along with the poems, shows how Laila’s poetry is restless, preoccupied with trauma, continuous longing for the past, and the unworkability of language.

DOI: 10.1080/1475262x.2022.2069379

Year of Publication: