By: Rogia al-Shafee
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (Sudanow) - Sudanese Poet Mohammad Abdelbari was one of three winners of the Saudi Prince Abdallah Alfaisal’s International Poetry Award for 2018.
The announcement was made in the Saudi Capital Riyadh on Wednesday, 21 March, on the World Poetry Day.
Poet Abdelbari has won the award’s prize for classical Arabic verse, while Egyptian Poet Fawzi Mahmood had won the prize for dramatic verse and Iraqi Poet Kareem Awda has won the prize for lyric poetry.
This is the Award’s first session. The Award is organized in memory of the late Poet, Saudi Prince Abdallah Alfaisal, who was widely known as ‘The Prince, The Poet’.
Prince Alfaisal had published a number of poetry collections and leading Arab singers had performed lyrics he had composed. The list of these singers includes Egyptian singing icon the late Umkalthoom, the late Sudanese Musician Ala’agib Mohammed Hassan and Saudi singer Ebadi Aljawhar.
The Award is sponsored by Alfaisal’s brother, Prince Khalid, Advisor to the Saudi King Salman Ibn Abdelaziz.
Poet Abdelbari was born in the town of Almanagil in Central Sudan in 1985 and moved with his family to Saudi Arabia as a child. He grew up in the Janadriyya suburb of Riyadh. He obtained a B.A in Arabic literature and then moved to Jordan where he obtained an M.A from the Jordanian University for a thesis on the poetry heritage of Moslem philosophers and scholars.
Poet Abdelbari has several published poetry collections that include his Marthiyyat Alnar Aloola (The First Eulogy of Fire), published in 2013 and Ka’annaka La (As if You .. Not).
His collections contain a number of widely publicized poems such as Undolisian (Two Andisias), Dhahiban Kalbarq (Vanishing Like Lightening), Khatimatun Lifatihat Altareeq (A Close of the Door’s Opening) and Bukai’yyat Alhajar Walreeh (An Eulogy Of the Stone And Wind).
Abdelbar’s readings in philosophy and the old Arabic literature had helped him blend poetry with philosophy and wisdom, all laced with realism. This blend is very clear in his poem: Malam Taqulhu Zarq’a Alyamama ( What Zarqa’a Alyamama Had Not Said), which is seen as a depiction of the realities of the so-called Arab Spring that saw the faltering of the popular uprisings against some Arab despots.
What Zarqa’a Alyamama Did Not Say is a turn in Abdelbari’s poetry project, bringing him early and wide literary fame. In this poem Abdelbari had predicted the distressing political and social developments that followed the wave of uprisings known as the Arab Spring.
According to an ancient Arabic tale, Zarqa’s tribe relied on her powers in detecting enemies and defending their land; as she was believed to have the ability to see riders from the distance of one week. In hopes to evade Zarqa’s gaze, enemies of her tribe once decided to hide behind tree branches which they carried as they approached Zarqa’a’s tribe’s settlement. Zarqa’a noticed what was going on and alerted her tribe that trees were moving towards them, but her tribe’s people did not heed what she was saying until the enemy reached and defeated them. Zarqa’a Alyamma’s caution to her people that ‘I see trees moving’, is used by many in the Arab World when a bad or ominous thing is likely to happen.
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