Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) hosted a panel session featuring renowned Syrian poet Adonis on Wednesday (25 May), who shared his opinions on how there is currently an abundance of Arab literary and poetic talent. 

Adonis, the pen name of Ali Ahmed Saeed Esber, is one of the most influential poets, critics, and essayists in contemporary Arabic literature, and as he participated in the 31st edition of the Fair, which has been organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), he spoke about the state of the region’s literary scene.

During the session, Adonis addressed the decline of poetry and the state of Arab literature, and discussed comparisons between Arabic and international poems, saying: "Talking about poetry is like talking about love, we live it, but we do not know how to analyse it."

Adonis questioned the difference between two views of poetry today, one that sees poetry as a reproduction of what already exists, and another that manifests itself in the usage of words as changeable, descriptive or narrative.

He noted the importance of women's poetry, saying, " This generation of women poets is especially accomplished. There are women who have not yet been able to publish their poetry but I am sure that their time will come."

Adonis reflected admiringly on the poetry of his generation, but cautioned against limiting ourselves to the poetry of the past 70 years, noting that if we do so, we are missing out on multiple eras of creativity. “If I mention poets like Umru Al Qais, Tarafa, Abu Nawas, Abu Tamam, or Al Mutanabi, you will not find greater poets than those the world over,” he said.