Portrait of a Nation: The engineer with a passion for the written word

Jordanian mechanical engineer Ahmad Al Akhras explores his creative side with poetry as well as his engineering discipline. The 23-year-old will have a book of his poems published next year.
Ahmad Al Akhras has written more than 300 poems in the past 10 years and now more than 50 of them are to be published at the beginning of next year by Sharjah Department of Culture and Information. Satish Kumar / The National
Ahmad Al Akhras has written more than 300 poems in the past 10 years and now more than 50 of them are to be published at the beginning of next year by Sharjah Department of Culture and Information. Satish Kumar / The National

AJMAN // The logical mind needed to be an engineer wouldn’t be one that you would also expect could produce works of poetry but that’s not the case for one UAE expat who masterfully combines both.

Jordanian mechanical engineer Ahmad Al Akhras has written more than 300 poems in the past 10 years and now more than 50 of them are to be published at the beginning of next year by Sharjah Department of Culture and Information.

The 23-year-old, who graduated from American University of Sharjah in July, has chosen the title The Features’ Tree for this three chapters of poems.

“I chose a blurred title because I do not want readers to see what I see, just to see what they see,” Mr Al Akhras said.

“I want them to create their own image while reading it, and every single reader comes out with a different experience by reading the same book.

“The first chapter is about love and titled I Swear to the N, the second one titled Beyond the Metaphor and is about sentiment and subjectivity and the last chapter is philosophical and entitled What Spike did not Say.”

The poet, who enjoys a quite space with soft music when writing, has almost been published six times before but has always backed out.

“Since 2010, I was thinking about publication. But I kept postponing it because I want my first collection, when it is published under my name, to leave a very strong impression that makes readers want my second one,” he said.

“This time, I proposed my book for publication and it is expected to be published in the coming year.”

Mr Al Akhras, who wrote his first poem at the age of 14, is the only person in his family with a talent for writing.

“It started by having a passion for Arabic when I was in grade six. I started having an interest in Arabic grammar and started reading novels, poetry and stories,” he said.

“I participated in various competitions for Arabic language when I was in middle school. And in grade nine, when I saw a girl riding the school bus, I unconsciously wrote a poem about her beauty.

“From that time, I continued writing secretly for three years without showing anyone what I was writing.

“My family and close friends did not take my talent seriously until I participated in Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum Award in 2010 and wrote a poem consisting of 20 verses and got first place.

“After it, I participated in Writers Union and presented a poetry evening, which was the first time I read poetry in front of an audience.”

By 2011, Mr Al Akhras started getting noticed at the Poetry House in Sharjah, Sharjah International Book Fair and at the American University of Sharjah, where he still presents a poetry evening.

“After that, in 2013, I appeared for the first time on television on Abu Dhabi TV channel in the fifth season of Prince of Poets programme and I was the youngest participant among 20 poets at the age of 20,” he said.

“My participation in the programme has increased my reputation, which has expanded across the Arab world, as well as increased my followers on my Facebook account.”

He now boasts more than 1,700 followers.

roueiti@thenational.ae

Published: September 29, 2016 04:00 AM

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