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Monday, March 2, 2009

Souk it To Me: Dubai festival takes poetry to the malls

The Saudi Gazette reports that as part of the festival, there are poetry contests being held in Dubai's world-famous malls, bringing together an Arabic poetry tradition and the newer mode of the poetry slam/Pop Idol.
The festival aims to revive the ancient poetic tradition of the historic Souk Okaz dating back to 500 BC, where literary contests and poetry recitations were held by prominent Arab poets in the pre-Islamic era, and which was revived in Taif, Saudi Arabia, last year. Similarly, the Dubai festival “will act as a forum for poets from around the world, to remove the barriers of borders and speak the language of poetry,” Al-Shaali said. As the nature of ancient souks has changed, so will the rules of the game of contemporary souk literary contests. The festival organization committee has planned to transport this tradition to the modern-day souk – the shopping malls – and host short plays and story recitations reflecting the contemporary human spirit in the poetic tradition.
And it's pretty hardcore:
This year’s event features prominent contemporary Arab poets like Saudi Prince Badr Bin Abdul Mohsin, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum from the UAE, and Saudi scholar Dr. Aayid Al-Qarni, Abdulrahman Rafi from Bahrain, Farouk Juwaydah and Ahmad Hijazi from Egypt, Hussein Darwish from Syria, Mahmoud Abdulghani from Morocco, and Abdu Wazin from Lebanon, and more.
Poets from other parts of the world include Mathew Sweeney from England, Raphael Urweider from Switzerland, Patrizia Cavalli from Italy, Enrique Moya from Venezuela, and Joachim Sartorius and Wolfgang Kubin from Germany. The poetic talent of the sub-continent will be represented by Kamal Vora, Ranjit Hoskote and Imtiaz Dharker from India, and Saba Ekram from Pakistan.
Has anyone been to one of these events? What was it like? Reports in ghazal form please :)

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