The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) organised the biggest gathering of Arab poets on January 23, with the first of the four sessions taking place at the Dubai Police Officers Club in Al Garhoud.

The first poetry session was attended by Shaikh Ahmad bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Mohammad Al Murr, president of the Cultural Association, and DTCM Director-General Khalid Bin Sulayem.

The forum is part of the department's continuing endeavour to present the best representative slices of the emirate's rich culture, heritage and traditions to Dubai's cosmopolitan residents and visitors during the DSF-2005.

The poetry festival is dedicated to the memory of Mohammad Bin Souqat Al Falasi, a popular UAE poet who died last year, and is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The DTCM events manager and chairman of the DSF Heritage Events Committee, Marwan Bin Beyat, said: "The department has published a brochure for this fifth poetry forum.

"Poetry sessions form an integral part of the emirate's culture and traditions and we have been working to keep this popular tradition alive."

In his foreword, Bin Sulayem praised the traditional poets of the UAE, including the late Mohammad Bin Souqat, and praised them for their valuable contribution in this field.

The first poetic session also saw the participation of Mohammad Rashid Al Dheeb from Qatar and Al Asri Bin Karaz of the UAE who recited political, traditional and national poems.

The second session to be held on January 26 will have female poets Angham Al Kulood, Tanhaat Najad and Qamra.

Entry to the event is free to the public.