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Shirzad Taefi, Nasir Ahmad Aryan,
Volume 8, Issue 20 (8-2021)

A researcher, lyricist, and a modernist, Wasef Bakhtari is regarded as one of the leading figures of contemporary Persian literature in Afghanistan. He is more known as a poet who writes difficult-to-understand poems, and his language is full of ambiguity and complexity. Therefore, in the present study, based on the semiotic theory of “Michael Riffaterre” and using qualitative content analysis and the retroactive reading approach, the ungrammaticalities, accumulations, descriptive systems, semantic transformations, and minimal semantic units in the poem “... And I Had Cried” by Bakhtari were determined and the elements that were the external signified of the signifiers inside the poem were introduced. The matrix scattered throughout the whole poem was obtained and its semantic structure was clarified. Riffaterre’s semiotic theory seeks to help the reader – by transcending imitative and exploratory reading and resorting to retroactive reading – go beyond the imitative layer of the text and enter the world of its signs, pursuant to which the structure of meaning in symbolic and ambiguous poems can be identified. The findings of the study show that the language of Bakhtari’s poetry is more complex than that of his contemporaries, but through various theories, including Riffaterre’s semiotic theory of poetry, it is possible to well penetrate the inner layers of meaning in his poetry and understand its semantic structure.

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