ABU DHABI, June 18 – The famous classical Arabic poetry programme 'Prince of Poets' started Thursday its 2009 session, which has taken a new theme that highlights both Jahili Fort and the Centenary of the passing away of Sheikh Zayed the Great.
A large audience of poetry lovers and members of the Jury listened to the first seven of the 35 participating poets – Jihan Barakat (Egypt), Jamal Al-Mula (Oman), Walid Al-Sarraf (Iraq), Nasser Louhishi (Algeria), Turki Hussein Saleh Abdel-Ghani (Jordan), Mohammed Abdullah Al-Daba’a (Yemen) and Ould Mtali Lemrabet bin Ahmed (Mauritania) – who were competing during the first episode broadcast live on Abu Dhabi TV from Raha Beach Theatre to book three cards for the second stage of the competition. The adopted theme was reflected substantially on the theatre décor.
The episode was full of close critical stances scrutinizing the contestants' poems, which came down to the decision of the Jury - Dr. Abdul Malik Murtadd, Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Dr. Salah Fadhel, Mr Nayif Rashdan, and Dr. Ahmed Kheris – to qualify Turki Hussein (Jordan) to the next stage of the competition.
Ould Mtali Lemrabet (Mauritania) received the highest proportion of the audience vote with 42% of the votes as the final results of the additional two qualifiers, who will be chosen by the public, will be announced next Thursday.
The contestants’ poets focused on love and emotions, a cornerstone in Arabic poetry. Poets' performances were impressive, presenting emotional texts of a human and spiritual depth. Some of the contestants came near to Sufism while others recalled national poetic experiences in a modern template and high poetic and artistic savvy.
The episode showed the need of critique in guiding the poets’ experiences and the course of the poetry creativity according to what members of the jury gave in terms of critical opinions that expressed a sound, in-depth critical analysis of the contestants’ poems.
Nayif saw in Turki Hussein’s poem “The Level of Sentiment” a beautiful poetic language, stressing that the contestant’s language draw a nicer picture of the reality, while Dr. Ahmed Kheris said Hussein’s string self-confidence and distinct language in some verses made the poem a unique poetic text. Dr. Salah Fadhel pointed out that the poet has the right to fervently express the glare of nostalgia with his fluent language, strong formulation and ardent enthusiasm, adding that the anguish of sentiments in this poem does not remove the artificiality of the phrase.
Members of the jury agreed that Jamal Al-Mula’s poem, which was dedicated to the late poet Khaled Al-Saadi (who was killed recently in Iraq), is a sensational piece of poetry, while they praised Jihan Barakat poem “In the Mirrors of Departure” although it imitates the worlds of the famous Arab poetesses Nazek Al-Malaika and Fadoua Touqan.
The jury thought poet Mohammed Al-Daba’a was unsuccessful in the selection of the poem’s title “A Song for an Eternal Rise”; Nasser Louhishi’s poem “A Ember in the Mirrors” was full of poetic pictures and a distinct poetic music; while Ould Mtali Lemrabet bin Ahmed used a classy language, a mark of old and traditional poems.
Members of the Jury also praised Walid Al-Sarraf’s poem “Baghdad’s Last Picture” in addition to the maturity of his experience and poetic language that captures poetry with a beautifully eloquent language.
‘Prince of Poets’ is supported and produced by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH). The first place winner gets the title of "Prince of Poets" and a cash prize of one million UAE dirhams, in addition to the Princely Garments which is a historical legacy of the Arabs, and the Princely Ring which is a symbol of the Prince of Poets title.
Winners of the following four places receive substantial money prizes as the festival management issues collections of their audio-written poetry.