HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali stressed the State of Qatar’s keen interest in poetry as part of its national heritage. Speaking on the sidelines of World Poetry Day (March 21), HE the Minister said that Qatar, like the rest of the Arab countries, has a long history of poetry and that its great number of poets is outstanding compared to its population.
There is also a strong presence of poetry at all events such as weddings, national events and even social gatherings. Al-Ali said the ministry’s keen attention to poetry and the establishment of a dedicated poetry centre (Diwan Al Arab) stems from the deep relation with the Qatari society, adding that people have always been affected by poetry in one way or another.
Responding to a question about the share of the poetry books in the publications of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, HE the Minister said that Qatar has been interested in the printing of various books, including poetry, and the generations that preceded us have done their part in this regard, and had many poetry books printed.
Now we build on that and move to a new stage by supporting the emerging publishing houses to publish poetry.
On the ministry’s sponsorship for young talent, al-Ali said: “The role of Diwan Al Arab Center is to discover talent and support them.”
The Ministry of Culture and Sports has a keen interest in poetry of all kinds, HE the Minister said adding they were represented in Diwan Al Arab’s celebration of World Poetry Day, at local and foreign levels. “We see this international event is an opportunity for Qatari and resident poets to come closer and build bridges of intercultural co-operation.”
Director of the Qatar Poetry Center, Shabib al-Nuaimi said that the celebration of World Poetry Day, which was organised in co-operation with the Qatar Centre for Cultural and Heritage Events, is an open-ended poetry oasis, citing diverse poems of national character as well as contributions by poets from the Sudan, Syria, Pakistan and India.
Among the events that attracted public attention were the ‘poetry puzzles’ presented by poet Ali ben Erhama al-Marri, who explained that the art of the poetic puzzle, which was popular in social gatherings, tests the participants poetry knowledge, pointing out that this art has a wide audience even of young people.
During the ceremony, Qatari poetry battles ‘Ranks of the Diwan Al Arab’ was inaugurated, in which two teams of poets stand in two facing lines and battle by improvising poetry verses till one of the teams win. The opposing row then respond to the poetry line.
Al-Marri added that Qatari youth from the secondary schools had been selected from where they have undergone intensive training by veteran poets at the Centre to develop their talents.
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