Fresh Initiatives to Strengthen Poets’ Relationship

DUBAI - The curtains came down on the Dubai International Poetry Festival 2009 on Tuesday with the launch of two initiatives, the Dubai Poetry Prize and the Global Association of Poets.

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Published: Thu 12 Mar 2009, 12:48 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 8:22 PM

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended the closing ceremony.

The two fresh initiatives are part of a holistic vision to strengthen the relationship among the poets worldwide and serve as the nucleus for the festival’s future activities.

The Dubai Poetry Prize will have three categories, Humanitarian Poet, Poetry Translator, and Creative Poet, said Jamal bin Huwaireb, head of the festival organising committee.

“The Global Poet Association is aimed at activating communication channels to link up the poets across the world via the Internet and other means of communication,” he added.

Bin Huwaireb indicated that creative endeavours such as Dubai International Poetry Festival and the Dubai House of Poetry were the result of reforms initiated by Shaikh Mohammed across the social, political and economic arenas in the UAE.

During the closing ceremony, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka praised Shaikh Mohammed’s latest book of verses, ‘Poems from the Desert’, and remarked that poetry is very liberating and represents the inner innocence of the child within the poet.

Soyinka urged more representation of women in poetry, and stressed that women poets are extremely adept at epitomising the society and its struggles. Also present at the ceremony was South African poetBreyten Breytenbach.

Popular Egyptian poet Ahmed Abdul Moati Hijazi said that poets must interfere and comment on politics. “Such interference must be based on ethical, not personal, grounds, to play an effective role in combating political corruption, particularly during crises,” he pointed out.

“It is really amazing to have this unique and open gathering of poets from across the globe under one umbrella,” said Nasser Al Qahtani, Saudi poetry enthusiast.

Pat Lancaster, editor of the London-based ‘Middle East Magazine’, believed that the festival is a remarkable event.

“It is a great vision to do something like this at a time when the world is very upset with the financial crisis,” she said, noting that she was particularly amazed by the young people’s interest in poetry.

Lancaster called for more attention to translation.

“I have been to some soirees where translation facilities were not available. I was moved by the rhyme and recital of the Emirati poetess Nojoom Al Ghanem. But I could not figure out what she was saying for lack of translation,” she pointed out.

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