Poetry News

Al Jazeera Profiles Six Middle Eastern Poets

By Harriet Staff

When there is war and struggle, poets raise their voices. Al Jazeera has posted six video profiles of contemporary Middle Eastern poets, including Al Khadra, an Algerian poet who write about conflict in the Sahara, and Syrian poet Hala Mohammad, who is exiled in Paris. In their introduction to the series, Al Jazeera writes:

Poetry lives and breathes in the Middle East as in few other places.

In a region long dominated by authoritarian regimes, poetry is the medium for expressing people's hopes, dreams and frustrations. Poets became historians, journalists, entertainers - and even revolutionaries.

Ever since Tunisians chanted Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi's If the People Wanted Life One Day poetry has been a key weapon of the Arab Spring, used to taunt regimes' refusing to see the writing on the wall.

The full series is posted here.

Originally Published: September 20th, 2012