September 24, 2023

The Academy of Arabic Poetry: The Focal Point for Poets in Saudi Arabia

The Academy of Arabic Poetry: The Focal Point for Poets in Saudi Arabia

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Taif as the Foremost Haven for Arabic Poetry and the Contemporary Souk Okaz

The Academy of Arabic Poetry stands as a pioneering cultural institution in the city of Taif. Specialising in the enrichment and development of poetry, it has been fostering various activities to support Arabic poetry studies since its establishment in 2016. The academy aims to nurture talented poets and critics by enhancing their abilities. To this end, it offers the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal International Prize for Arabic Poetry, along with numerous programmes and forums to mark the “Year of Arabic Poetry”, as 2023 has been designated by Saudi Arabia. 

Literary clubs also play a significant role in disseminating culture within the Kingdom and beyond. The Al-Baha Literary and Cultural Summer Club is a leading example. This cultural monument has offered a plethora of programmes, events, evenings and conferences focusing largely on poetry. During the Year of Arabic Poetry, we reached out to various poets, seeking their insights. We posed questions about their perspectives on the Academy of Arabic Poetry and their aspirations for it. Additionally, we delved into the contributions of literary clubs, with a particular focus on the Al-Baha Literary and Cultural Summer Club, in supporting poetry and poets.

Saudi poet Mohammed Faraj Al-Atwi believes that the Academy of Arabic Poetry is a pioneering institution and has created a tangible shift in the poetic landscape, which had remained static for a long time. Interest – especially media attention – has moved towards folk poetry. This is evident through various activities offered by the Academy, often in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture. There is also a noticeable freshness in their events, which are becoming less formal and rely increasingly on young, enthusiastic talents who contribute to national frameworks and express ambitious mission statements.

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