Abstract

This article examines the poems of two authors whose work emerges from within a contemporary scene of political paralysis, Palestine and Israel, in order to study what forms of agency they develop to shift representational systems of impasse and their embodiment in restrictive kinship orders. Though not generally put in conversation, both Mahmoud Darwish and Dahlia Ravikovitch make use of Abrahamic narratives, reimbuing reigning figures of matriarchy and patriarchy with the scene of death to disrupt competing accounts of national coherence. Exploring what new forms of life may develop from within a recurring encounter with death, both poets study the unknown avenues toward which figures of sacrifice and anti-generation may point. Following Judith Butler's call in Antigone's Claim to read Antigone's death as an index for an as-yet-unknown form of politics, I examine the ways in which Darwish and Ravikovitch's suicidal rewritings of Abrahamic ancestry unsettle intertwined notions of kinship and gender in order to gestures toward unacknowledged possibilities for ethics and coexistence. Studying Antigone's relation to death alongside the Abrahamic progenitors Ismāʿīl (Ishmael) and Rachel, the article details how Darwish and Ravikovitch shift their tradition's procreative logic away from the principle of self-preservation toward one of self-sacrifice, highlighting the promise of their implicit and explicit alliances across political, religious, and gendered boundaries.

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