The Arabic Book Club in Sharjah, supported by Sharjah International Book fair, is participating in the ‘100 Thousand Poets for Change’ event, which will take place in 450 cities and 95 countries around the world. In Sharjah, the Arabic Book Club is organizing a poetry night entitled ‘Poets for Change’ to celebrate poetry and promote social, environmental, and political issues. The event will take place on Saturday 24 September at 8:00pm in Barjeel gallery, Maraya Art Centre - Al Qasba.
‘Poets for Change’ is intended to be a gathering for poets and people who love poetry and literature in general to come together and read their own work or the work of their favorite poets. The event reflects the true cultural mix the UAE enjoys as people from all nationalities are invited to come and join this celebration of poetry. So far people participating will be reading in Arabic, English, Urdu, Malayalam, Russian, and Turkish.
The Arabic Book Club will be documenting the event and will post all materials on the ‘100Thousand Poets for Change’ website. Immediately following 24 September all documentation on the 100TPC.org website will be preserved by Stanford University in California, which has recognized ‘100 Thousand Poets for Change’ as an historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. They will archive the complete contents of the website, 100TPC.org, as part of their digital archiving program LOCKSS.
One of the Cairo events will be hosted at the New Ma3di bookshop Kotob Khan. Owner Karam Youssef explicitly linked the event with the struggle for democracy in North Africa.
She wanted Kotob Khan to participate, she said, “because it is to celebrate poems glorify justice, social justice, freedom, equality.” Kotob Khan invited poets whose works “reflect and express freedom, justice, liberty, social justice” and more, she said. Scheduled poets are Zein El Abideen Fouad, Yasser Abdel Latif, Wael Abdel Fatah, and Alaa Khalid.
Sharjah event organizer Marwa Yehia said that her city’s event is less explicitly political. It’s “a good opportunity [for] people from different nationalities in the UAE to come together, share their passion for literature and express themselves and opinions through poetry. We look at the event as a celebration of poetry in general; so we are not looking for a specific type of poets. All are welcome to come and express themselves through their work or the work of their favourite poets.”
This doesn’t preclude poets who address social issues, Yehia said. “For example, I will be reading a poem by Nizar Qabbani titled ‘Prostitution,’ which draws a very powerful image of this phenomena and shows how women are judged and criticised while men are never to be blamed.”
She said that well-known Emirati poets Rashid Sharrar and Rayana al Oud would be reading, and others would read in Arabic, English, Urdu, Malayalam, Russian, Italian, and Turkish. The Sharjah event is set to begin this Saturday around 8 p.m. at the Barjeel Gallery, Maraya Art Centre, Al Qasba.
Other “100 Thousand Poets for Change” events will take place in at least 450 cities and 95 countries around the world.