Representing Women’s Issues in the Post-Soviet Kyrgyz Poetry

Kanykei KALIEVA, Kyrgyzstan, ID CLear2016-355;     This paper explores the depiction of women's issues in Kyrgyz poetry and its relationship to identity in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. The authors cited in this paper reflect a diversity of current Kyrgyz poets who regularly present women’s concerns in their works, particularly in the context of finding one's own response to Kyrgyzstan's national identity and cultural roots.  Poetry is discussed here as the main form of Kyrgyz cultural expression. Historical experiences in the pre-Soviet era, educational growth under the USSR, and 25 years of independence, globalization, and transition to the market-based economy have significantly influenced the development of the post-Soviet Kyrgyz identity. The most dramatic results can be seen in the revival of traditional beliefs and the changing status of women. Today, we live in a country where women are not just assigned certain gendered roles within accepted cultural norms, but are also expected to fulfill more extended responsibilities within society. These tendencies are discussed in Kyrgyz women’s poetry: “I sacrifice / My health, my youth, my beauty, / For the sake of the “purse” of my nation! ” (J. Isabaeva, 2014). To understand the identity of Kyrgyz women, this paper examines women’s experiences, their concerns, dreams and expectations – all which have been described in their poems.

Key words: poetry, women’s issues, identity, cultural expression, Post-Soviet.