Date of Graduation

Spring 2021

Degree

Master of Arts in English

Department

English

Committee Chair

Marcus Cafagna

Keywords

immigration, pandemic, psycholinguistics, bilingual, identity, politics, cultural assimilation, home, Bengali, Bangladeshi literature

Subject Categories

Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Poetry

Abstract

The following poems chronicle the journey of a contemporary Bangladeshi-immigrant poet living in the United States of America. Divided in three sections, the poems serve as self-portraits that peek into the complex psycholinguistics of the immigrant writing in a second language. The poet offers sketches of different aspects of his immigrant life through self portraits. While mostly autobiographical, the collection offers poems that serve as commentary on the socio-economic reality of workaholic American life. Through exploring the self as a bilingual poet, the poems serve as critiques of the socio-political systems of this country. “Self-Portraits of the Byelingual Immigrant” also includes poems written from other perspectives. The rationale for including other perspectives is influenced by the poet’s choice to offer a holistic view of immigrant life and avoid a monochromatic pastiche. Additionally, some of the poems deal with the reality of living through the COVID-19 global pandemic and address the anxiety of living without a support system in a country that the immigrant calls home. Inspired by Bharati Mukherjee’s idea of a literary orphan, the poems look at both sides of the life of an immigrant: the original home that the poet grew up in and the new home he accepted.

Copyright

© Sujash Purna

Open Access

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