Dubai: UAE residents have put together a unique poetic anthology focusing on diversity and representation.
The book titled Nations of Peace will be showcased at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair beginning in the capital tomorrow (May 23). The fair runs till May 29.
Twenty poets in all have contributed to over 160 poems in the book after British expat Loraine Harrison Fox, whose origins go back to Jamaica, issued an invitation to them to be part of the collection.
Fox, an educator, designer, writer and poet, said: “Nations of Peace is intended to send out a message of peace, love and harmony. And it comes from people of varied nationalities living in the UAE. They represent the multi-cultural facet of the nation. Our beloved rulers had the wisdom, compassion and vision to create a productive nation. In acknowledgment of this, some of us poets have presented our pieces.”
She said the anthology is an international collaboration. “In the poems, the poets express their emotions in pieces written in the midst of COVID-19. We were abroad safe in a land where every essential item was made available to us. Our words were carefully crafted showing our gratitude. We are here as teachers, professionals, students, engineers and we hope that this book is a reminder of a time that will be documented forever in history.”
Emirati civil engineer Rashid Al-Ameri, a passionate poet, whose thoughts are expressed in the anthology, said, “I wrote for the Nations of Peace poetry group as I felt the inspiration to share my ideological perspectives."
He said, "I consider myself to be an intuitive writer. In other words, I write poems when I am truly inspired to do so. I have penned seven poems about the human relationship with Mother Nature. One poem is about the degrading impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Indian expat Adel Awad, 31, who works as a senior recruitment consultant, said that he too is glad to be part of the project.
“Our aim is to reach the diverse population of the UAE by expressing our thoughts and experiences. Being part of this project allowed me to showcase my experiences of growing up in a melting pot of cultures within the UAE. This book is an example of how poetry can break barriers across cultures.”
Pakistani expat Safa Mahmoud, 20, who is planning to start her university studies, is another passionate poet who is part of Nations of Peace.
“For me personally, this is a great opportunity. The book is being showcased at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair which is a huge platform. I have written seven poems and am so excited to see the response.”
American teacher in Dubai Iman bint Saleem Khalid, 40, who was initially invited to write the preface/introduction for Nations of Peace, said she was later asked to submit a piece that would highlight an aspect of the pandemic that touched her. She said, “During the pandemic, I had more time to be creative and express myself. So I thought what would be best to highlight - masks, temperature checks, curfew? I wrote a poem that highlighted the pandemic as I saw it from my eyes.”
Entry protocols for book fair
The 31st edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), which will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from May 23 to 29, is being organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, operating under the Department of Culture and Tourism- Abu Dhabi. Around 1,000 publishers from 80 countries are expected to be present at the fair.
Vaccinated visitors aged at least 16 years have to present a Green Pass on Al Hosn, and unvaccinated visitors must present a negative PCR test result obtained within 96 hours. Children are welcome from the first day. All visitors must wear face masks at all times.