Roots of the Emirati national poetry in the Sorbonne majlis
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PSUAD literary majlis emphasized the primary importance the UAE leadership gives both poetry and poets providing the latters with an environment conducive to poetic creativity and production, especially through the support and sponsorship of all official organizations to literary and poetic events. Such events aim to promote and develop Emirati literature. All those topics were discussed during the monthly Sorbonne majlis, which focused on the relation between poetry and patriotism in both Emirati and French literature. The majlis session this month was held as part of the 42nd UAE national day celebrations.

The literary majlis gathered a number of Emirati and expatriate poets and intellectuals in addition to the PSUAD students and faculty. During the session, a number of Emirati and French poems were read and discussed. The meeting was followed by a lecture on the relation that can be established between poetry and patriotism.
Prof. Eric Fouache, PSUAD Vice-Chancellor, stated that literature in general and poetry in particular have always been of particular interest to the UAE leadership, an interest that has peaked since the Union in 1971. Poetry in the UAE witnessed great development thanks to the support of the leadership to poetry and poets, as well as the majlis and poetry conferences that have been convened, in addition to the establishment of cultural centers, and the general importance they gave poetry.
Vital Rambaud, Head of French Studies Department and the Majlis director, said that national poetry largely interested the UAE young writers and readership. Those productions were of high literary quality that brought poets to the forefront of the scene, thanks to their talent. They were inspired by their surroundings and that was reflected in their poetry, through the beauty and imagination that are the main pillars of poems, whatever their genre.
He added that poetry in the UAE combined between the place and the poem, as if they were one unit thus adding deep semantic diversity in Emirati poems. This demonstrates the will of Emirati poets to produce high quality poetry at par with regional and global production.
He added that literature and poetry seek to entertain and educate, despite the differences in the types of expression. In the 17th century, France was omnipresent in Europe on the literary and arts scene. France exported to Europe and the world classical texts that revitalized the antiquity literary works from Greece and Rome. They used to strive for the perfection of the form and tended to include psychological analyses in their texts. Indeed, all of these trends and theories were expressed in many literary and poetic productions that remain famous until to date.
Eisa Al-Raeisi, Head of Students and Cultural Affairs Department shed light on the relation between poetry and patriotism which was deeply rooted in human history. A relation that manifested itself in the UAE after the union with the establishment of a center seeking to instill patriotism in poets with results that became tangible later on in local poetry or cultural production in general. This relation is further demonstrated in the dynamic of national belonging that is obviously deeply rooted in people’s mindsets, minds and emotions.
He added that patriotism in not just about Emirati poetry but rather about a poetic, literary, cultural and intellectual entity synonymous of nationalism often paving the way to all other topics addressed through poetry and literary production. Poetry and literature have always been the antidotes of any attempt to destabilize the nation. Poets were relentlessly advancing on their mission to preserve the nation’s interests.
He emphasized that the Emirati national poetry displays the same characteristics as the French national poetry such as imitating the great classics, rationality, as well as adopting a polite style and the interaction with modernity all of which led to beautiful stylistic innovations. Emirati poets expressed the young nation’s objectives through beautiful metaphors of freedom and modernity. This production was a clear demonstration of the spirit of modernity and the objectives of the UAE and its leadership.
Students, in their interventions, underlined the poet’s role as being as important as a soldier’s role in the battlefield, and the leader’s in the phase of construction and development. With their verses, poets motivate and their words find an echo in the minds of nationals, they are then transformed into energy for perseverance, for active belief. They insisted that national poetry motivates and moves them, sends waved of enthusiasm among the audience. Poetry is the voice of the nation expressing its hope and suffering.