The Mask of Sinbad in the Poetry of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab
One of the distinctive features of modern ode is its shift from pure emotional reaction to conscious and imagist expression and relying on concentration and semantic intensification in transmitting the poetic message in a suggestive way that just suggest the emotions, feelings and thoughts. Therefore, nothing is expressed directly. In order to imply this feature in the ode the modern poet has turned to a set of devices and artistic poetic techniques, such as symbols and poetic image, as well as employing other literary skills, such as drama and narrative. The poets have used those elements and tried to leave the excessive lyric structure of the Romantic ode for dramatic structure, and for this purpose they employed characters and events form human culture and tried to add to them the contemporary features of their experiences. They also endeavoured to express themselves through masks and symbols that personify their visions and tried to be united with them. Thus “the mask technique” has emerged as a new device in poetry presenting the features of symbolic expression and going beyond conscious lyricism towards dramatic lyricism penetrating with maximum objectivity the depth of human consciousness. The modern poet in the adventures and journeys of Sinbad finds those artistic possibilities which are most appropriate for expressing the different dimensions of his experience. Indeed the features and aspects of Sinbad have become diverse with the diversity of the dimensions of the contemporary poet’s experience. This article attempts to highlight the symbolic significations of Sinbad and the way this character is employed by one of the greatest contemporary poet, Badr Shakir al-Sayyab. However, Badr does not suffice with barrowing certain traditional significations of the adventures of Sinbad but rather adds to these adventures the elements of his modem experience and changes the features of the character of his mask in order to make it fit his attitudes and the events of his modern life.