Emirati poet's anthems were signature tunes of a nation

The death last week of Hamad bin Suhail Al Ketbi represents the loss of a major voice, contemporaries in the literary field say.

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ABU DHABI // The death last week of Hamad bin Suhail Al Ketbi represents the loss of a major voice in Emirati poetry, according to his contemporaries in the literary field. Al Ketbi, a cousin of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, died of a stroke on July 19 in London. He was 38. He produced works that were recited and sung by leading artists, including Rashed al Majed and Nawal al Zoghbi. Many of his poems were used in soap operas, the latest being Awraq al Hob, for which he wrote all the poems and the lyrics for the introduction.

He is survived by his wife and four children: two boys, Mohammed and Zayed; and two daughters, Fatima and Aysha. Al Ketbi was the nephew of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the mother of Sheikh Mohammed. "He will be missed in the Emirati poetry field. He is one of the young poets who proved themselves with their poetry production, and also in the music field, as he has written many poems that were sang by various artists," said Sultan al Amimi, the director of the poetry academy at Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, and a jury member in the Nabati poetry show Million's Poet. "His topics were humanitarian on different levels, which enriched his poetry experience."

His most significant poems were about the homeland and motherhood, and were translated into songs that "are still in our minds", Mr al Amimi said. "I knew him personally, and met him many times. He was known for his kind heart and good manners." Mr al Amimi said Al Ketbi was always keen to attend Million's Poet, offering critiques on the contestants' work. "We spoke a lot in the majlises where we used to meet.

"I always stressed that his poems should be gathered in a diwan [album]. He kept saying, 'inshallah'. "We always asked him to document his experience, but he didn't have time to do that. He presented the experience of a young generation who had modern experiences. "His poetic development was swift, in my opinion, and he was a role model for young poets." Mohammed al Buraiki, art director of the Sharjah Nabati Poetry Centre, said Al Ketbi was known for the humanitarian spirit of his work, and its flowing emotion and music.

"We were shocked by the death of the poet. He always used phrases that portrayed our popular heritage," said the poet Jamila al Ruwaihi, a cultural attache at the union for Emirati writers. "His poetry was rich with nationalism and patriotism, and he depicted our heritage in a special light." @Email:hdajani@thenational.ae @Email:kshaheen@thenational.ae

ABU DHABI // One of the country's leading Nabati poets will be commemorated by the publication of a volume of his poems. The work of Ahmad bin Ali bin al Kindi bin Ali Bomelha al Marar, who was born in Liwa in 1940 and died in December 1985, will be published following an agreement signed between the Poetry Academy of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and the poet's heirs. The agreement was signed by Sultan al Amimi, director of the Poetry Academy, and Ali Bin Ahmed al Kindi, who is representing al Kindi's heirs and supervising the research and collection of the works. The poet was the head of the Council of Bedouin Poets in the Liwa region, and was known for his love of falconry and for playing the rababa, a musical instrument. The collection will include a number of previously unpublished poems and photographs, as well as a selection of his published poems. Mohammed al Buraiki, the art director of the Sharjah Centre for Nabati Poetry, said that al Kindi represents an era when Emirati poetry was at its peak of creativity. "What was special about his poems is that the emotion of his text was derived from his own emotions," said Mr al Buraiki. "What helped him also was the accurate picture he drew of the environment he lived in." * Anna Seaman and Haneen Dajani