Yemeni poet Dr Ibtisam al-Mutawakkel
Sanaa – Maeen al-Najri
Yemeni poet Dr Ibtisam al-Mutawakkel, who is also a Professor of Literature at Sanaa University, speaks to Arabstoday as she prepares for a book signing event for her collection Ara Amai [I See my Blindness].
Dr al-Mutawakkel told Arabstoday about the numerous delays the book suffered due to the Arab Spring revolutions: “The original release date for this collection was already delayed for various reasons and then the revolutions happened so it was put off for another two years because of the unrest everywhere from Tunisia to Yemen”
“I believe poetry has a right to be disseminated, despite these ongoing tensions. It can’t be hidden under politicians’ reach and turbulent military moods”
"I avoid subjects that I can't speak about, even though I do try to push past social and political barriers and write about the impact of certain events”
Along with, I See My Blindness, al-Mutawakkel has published three other books: Yushbiehu Mawtiha [Like Her Death], Shadha al-jamr [The Scent of Embers] and Falakun Sadeeq al-Aaeila [Let Me Be The Family Friend].
"I leave it to the reader to decide if there are any differences between I See My Blindness and my previous work."
In related news, fiction writer Zeid al-Faqih held a signing of his second short story collection Lastu ana [Not I] on Monday at a traditional coffeehouse in downtown Sanaa. This makes al-Faqih the fifth Yemeni writer to hold a signing there as part of a cultural programme. Programme Coordinator Mohammed al-Qaoud told Arabstoday the book tackles a number of social issues in Yemeni society, such as qat (Arabian tea) addiction.
Al-Faqih says the programme has been hugely successful and writers have enjoyed the immediate reaction of the public at the packed events. Literary and artistic events will continue to be held at the same venue.