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Faculty Mentor

Jay Shelat


Domestic Denial: English 440W Capstone Seminar


This paper discusses what readers can understand about Guantanamo Bay and the larger setting of America's Islamophobic "War on Terror" through the poetry of individuals detained inside of Guantanamo Bay Military Prison. In 2002, Mark Falkoff, with the help of a team of lawyers, translators, and human rights advocates published a collection of twenty-two detainee-authored poems, titled Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak. This paper discusses the emerging neo-colonial subjectivity of America's War on Terror, as it analyzes the available writings of Guantanamo poets. The new language of subjectivity of victims of contemporary American empire is defined by suppression, as it was extensively vetted, translated, and censored, but the language is also defined by the undeniable suffering of detainees, given the available content of the poems as well as further journalistic and academic information written on Guantanamo Bay Military Prison and the larger landscape of the "War on Terror."