7 Poetry Collections By UAE Poets That You Should Pick Up To Enrich Your Mind
If you are looking for a curated collection of UAE poets, then look no further. Welcome poetry lover to this community of people whose words are sweeter than sugar and more trilling than the song of birds.
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for…” – Dead Poet’s Society
7. Heartwood Poems by Dana Dajani
HeARTwood Poems is the first collection of poems from Palestinian poet, performer, and actress Dana Dajani. Dana says that she wrote these poems reflecting on her inner landscape. “Written for the feminine spirit”, the poems have many themes including love, longing, and exploration.
6. A Teaspoon Of Stars (+others) by Chandrama Deshmukh
“I believe all art erupts from real life,” says Chandrama Deshmukh who has been writing poetry for over two decades. Discouraged in her publishing journey with many saying that prose sells better, Chandrama endured.
Now, she proudly holds in her hands her fourth collection of poetry. A Teaspoon Of Stars, is a byproduct of her deepest thoughts and reflections, “Each piece is crystallized from a cloud of chaos and darkness mapping the journey through love, loss, courage, pain and survival.”
5. I Long To Be The River (+others) by Danabelle Gutierrez
Danabelle Gutierrez has three collections of poetry under her belt (I Long To Be The River, Until The Dreams Come, Tears Across The Earth) and two chapbooks (Eventually and The River Surrenders and Softer). “I didn’t plan to be a poet, I think it just happened,” she says including that she wanted to be a novelist instead and is still planning on it.
Renowned across Dubai, Danabelle is also the host of the poetry community Press Paus; Play Poetry which nurtures artists of the country by holding an open mic for poets of all ages every month.
4. Anyway, Don’t Be a Stranger by Syed Haider
Syed Haider’s debut book of poetry Anyway, Don’t Be a Stranger details his coming-of-age and includes themes of love, grief, heartbreak, childhood, friendships and self-acceptance. As part of the Press Paus; Play Poetry community, he was encouraged to publish his work here in the UAE.
The 20 year old’s advise to his fellow poets is, “To be honest & raw with your work, as well as to believe that as long as you write from your heart, you cannot help but create something somebody else would cherish.”
3. The Essence of Karak by Priyanka R. Bijlani
Priyanka R. Bijlani’s contemporary collection of poetry showcases anecdotes and shared experiences through verses crafted in a multicultural lens in order to convey a message of what is required by an individual to be strong – karak.
If you are a UAE resident, Karak requires no translation. Priyanka has used the term to reflect people, places and sources of inspiration based on her life and experiences in the UAE.
2. Tidal Waves by Enas Suleiman
Enas Suleiman was encouraged by her friends to publish her collection of poetry after her father passed away. As the number one supporter of her writing journey, Tidal Waves is an ode to him. The book is a compilation of short verses that “carry the reader through loss, but also through love and hope”.
“I started writing the poems as scribbles and notes for myself to read whenever I missed my father’s presence and wisdom,” Enas says. Reading her draft, her siblings were overcome with emotion, “I’d like to think that we will always have this bond in the form of a book to come back to anytime, anywhere.”
1. The Girl of the Arabs by Ousha Bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi (Translated by Nadia A. Kawandanah)
Ousha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi is regarded as one of the greatest Nabati – Bedouin – poets of the 20th century. The Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, and a poet himself, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, gave her the nickname Fatat Al Arab – girl of the Arab.
Born in 1920 in Al Ain, Ousha gained nationwide recognition for her poetry recitals at the tender age of 15. Her success paved the way for future female poets. On 28 November 2022, Google Doodle celebrated her with a doodle desgined by an Emirati artist.
In 2024, an English version of her poetry translated by English literature lecturer, Nadia Khawandanah, was released at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The translated version is titled The Girl of the Arabs.