‘A poem is rebirth of words, translation of culture’

Sharjah 24: Emirati poet Khalid AlBudoor has described poems as the “rebirth of words” – as words are imbued with deep meaning and metaphorical expressions, and translation as the “rebirth of culture”, while emphasizing the importance of faithfully translating poetry and literary works to capture the meaning of the original text and retaining its creative essence and distinctive style.
AlBudoor’s remarks came during an ‘In Conversation’ session hosted by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) at the 49th London Book Fair where Sharjah was celebrated as the Market Focus. At the 2022 edition of LBF, Sharjah participated with an Emirati-Arab delegation comprising of writers, poets, publishers, and artists, as well as media professionals from the UAE.

Speaking about his career in poetry, the award-winning poet said: “I grew up in a small village where poetry in general, and especially Nabati poetry, is deeply rooted in the local culture. My mother loved Nabati poetry and I heard the first Nabati poems from her from her. Later, I began to write her poems to make her happy, and thus began my career as a poet.

“My father’s library was full of books of classical poetry that I used to read with passion. At school, I read contemporary Arabic poetry, and enjoyed the works of Mahmoud Darwish and Nizar Qabbani. My initiation into the world of poetry thus was a harmonious blend of traditional, classical, and modern poetry,” he added.

Explaining his unique style in poetry, AlBudoor said: “Reading poems of different styles, languages, and cultural backgrounds led me on a journey of self-discovery and helped me find my own voice and style. When I write a poem, I set it aside for a few days, then come back to make amendments or additions, but I always make sure that the initial spark resonates through in the poem.”

AlBudoor spoke about the current challenges in writing poetry, brought on by changes in lifestyles. He added that although novels are the most popular genre today, the love and passion for poetry is eternal and that the rise of social media has enabled poets to reach out to the new generation. Explaining his fondness for writing in different languages ​​- apart from Arabic, the Emirati poet said he hopes to build an emotional connection with global audiences.

Emirati poetry stirs emotions at LBF
Khalid AlBudoor later joined Emirati spoken word poet, Afra Atiq, at the Arab British Center for a panel discussion titled ‘Emirati Poets in London’. The two poets shared a collection of their poems with the audience and reinforced the importance of translating poetry.

Khalid Al Budoor recited a selection of his Arabic poetry and the English translations of his poems. Discussing the genres and evolution of various movements in Arabic poetry, I have stated how the diversity of natural ecosystems in the UAE, has stirred the emotions of poets and impacted Emirati poetry.

Afra Atiq also recounted how she first discovered her passion for the written word and journeyed into memories of her childhood including the profound sadness she experienced when her father was sick and the common traits she shares with her grandfather, a pearl diver.

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