Open the creative process: partner poetry

Note by Danabel Guterres at the Participation Poetry Festival on June 1, 2020. Courtesy of the artist

June 18, Beyond the Mall and Rooftop Rhythms for an interactive poetry writing session for four poets who live and work in the UAE. We invited artists and listeners to create works that broadly explain the theme of the 2020 festival: cultural knowledge and the environment. In this writing challenge, imagined by Dorian Paul Rogers of Rooftop Rhythm, the artists wrote new poems in front of a virtual audience using the words and themes provided to them through live chat.

Frustrated without expressing ideas from the audience না without mentioning the possibility of writing in public with a twenty-minute time limit শিল্প the artists adopted the unpredictable, unpublished nature of the interactive format. Although they worked with the same input and limitations, their voices are significantly different, as is evident in their first drafts. Below is the final version of the pieces they started making during the live stream.

Spoken word poetry is meant to be served aloud, so we encourage you to watch and listen to the video for a reading of the early versions of these works.

Spoken-word poetry is about the community. In keeping with its revolutionary roots and collective consciousness, spoken word artists often solve critical social problems in their performances and they use open mic night or slam (competitive poetry show) as a public forum to open important conversations. Our event with the rhythm of the roof took place in the first days of the ongoing anti-apartheid protests around the world, which the artists acknowledged with the inaugural statement of solidarity.

In the United Arab Emirates, the word spoken is often performed in English or multilingual, and the spoken word resonates with certain local traditions of oral literature in many languages. Rooftop Rhythms’ Arabic Open Mike Nights is enriching, bringing this young and important performance genre into dialogue with many genres of traditional thematic and classical poetry that are alive and well throughout the Arabic-speaking world.

Go to the poems of Mohammed Anis, Danabel Guterres, Jesus Jane and Dorian Paul Rogers

In these poems below, the relationship of language and identity intersects with listener-supplied words such as “neo-colonialism” and the vague “hyphenated human”. Reflecting life experiences across national and cultural boundaries, Jesus Jane included some words in Arabic and some words from Danabel Guterres in Tagalog, one of the languages ​​of the Philippines. In the unique style of the artists, these new works evoke natural, political and imaginative landscapes.

We thank the artists for their participation and for allowing their poetry to be republished.


Warm air

By Dorian Paul Rogers

There is a warm air dancing through the palm leaves. My neighbor Conversation Did I hear anything about Kushari in my kitchen window, or was that Karak tea? The air breathes and breathes – tired from last night Sandstorm. It coughs up microscopic glass and ground seashells and then stops – a moment of silence for all breathing that has stopped for unnatural reasons.

I hear Lightning In my stomach. The lightning behind my tongue reaches his fingertips. I try to focus on the menu tonight. Owen opens his mouth to welcome my day’s food – Pan Searled colon is based on colonialism Judgment. I ran out of sea salt. I don’t want to interrupt my neighbor’s joke, so I use a net to catch one. Rainbow Which hangs hope from my porch.

I listen to another neighbor. Now their heartbeat. It goes by the side of my window. Peter Peter is a Sanctuary On my eardrums that haven’t been beaten in months. My heart has been torn apart and all perspectives have been lost.

I miss my own footprints that were confined to my bedroom, TV and back to this kitchen. I want to re-brand my footprints and walk the path of that neighbor and join that conversation. It’s time to dump her and move on Perspective And add a new recipe to my cookbook.

A burning smell wakes me up Daydream Such warm air removes char and ash from the oven. It seems that Neo-colonialism Does not cook well, does not accept and does not soften Freedom, justice, reform and tolerance.

I ran to switch the lights War of power. The fire alarm is screaming at me because it is fixed on him Shelter Of the ceiling. The neighbor’s conversation is completely drowned out by my wife because she doesn’t want me to cook what I don’t want to cook. The warm air stays in the book.

I wait by the window for the next one Conversation To block my path.



By Jesus Jane

Words. Human
Can we all agree that this is a conversation time
Can we all agree that our strength is our unity?
When humanity has lost its meaning
Maybe in this sandstorm of negativity
The sound of cold winter air does not come easily
When it comes to peace

Words. In-Sun (Human) (Human) Original (Al-Nes-Yan) (Forgotten)
They told me that words can break my bones but forgot to say that it will break your dreams
Hope for justice on my horizon
Life is dancing with me
Searching for connections outside of the black square in my feed
Neo-colonialism is all around me
But the world seems to have always been strong
Last year’s theme tolerance canvas in every heartbeat
If you share my rainbow with me I will share my sunlight
Footprints of optimism paint the reality of yesterday
Fight with power until power is given to us
A new dawn aurora goddess is weaving this tapestry
Together so complete / holi
With the rhythm of the clan
Ave of truth
Sanctuary in my identity
Pure soul like you and me
Includes my serenity
Make us a repair
Re-imagining freedom
Hypnotized people



By Mohammad Anis

The Patience A soul can only last as long Conversation, Not as ego competition Virtue Like Neo-colonialism.

Today we are War of power, Forgetting Footprints That brings us here, for groveling Truth A Introduction Sandstorm.

Today, Peace Is Durable Lies that sell; They float us in a sanctuary, a construction pose Hypnotized people.


A lyric, united

By Danabel Guterres

I was inspired to create a lyric,
walk away from united
ial colonialism, lover of something
Foreign and removed from yourself.

Pinai, Philippines, Brown:
Think money, think action,
Start a conversation about energy
And who holds it; Authenticity and

Who are you The answer is always
Depends on who is asking. Keep it
Ask who I am? I’m here.
Dancing across the warm air

The horizon of the desert, the path
Aurora dances north.
Wandering in the middle of the southeast
And I wonder when I scribble this

The verse is inconsistent when echoed.
Rhythm tries to reconnect,
Feed into the groove, like a groove
Like a mantra. I am and I am not

Who am I? I am and where I am not
I The challenge is not to answer
Questions, but to be asked. Curiosity
Kill the cat, but prove it

Bring it back. Who am i I am and I am
Not inspired, and earthquake perspective
And Groundswell on my blank canvas.
I can’t tell the cat what to do. WHO

You? What inspired you
Footprints on the path to freedom, left
Repair of generation by hyphenated people
In the sanctuary of written words?

Orange, teal and green sound

A fraction of the words proposed by the audience members to include poets

Graphic by Rebecca Fenton

Rebecca Fenton is the co-curator of the program United Arab Emirates: Living Landscape | Living memories At the Smithsonian Folklore Festival.

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