In the wake of modern literature, literary critic and Cairo University professor Gaber Asfour deemed the outburst of contemporary novels to have subdued the field of Arabic literature, an opinion which did not sit well with old-fashioned Diwan poets.
Poets have mobilized to bring back to life the vibrant culture of Diwan poetry, giving birth to a ‘houses of poetry’ movement.
Traditionally, Diwan stands for a collection of poems produced by one author and are usually are recited in gatherings.
Subsequently, houses of poetry are devoted to organize regular evenings and seminars to revive Diwan poems as folklore and consolidate support for the works of composers.
This phenomenon spread in more than one Gulf country, and in many Arab countries. A group of poets officially announced establishing a houses of poetry headed by poet Abdullah al-Failakawi and in cooperation with the national literary association.
Speaking to Asharq Al- Awsat, Failakawi said he believes that houses of poetry should surge all over the Arab world.
Diwans reflect the respective Arab capitals they are produced in and interact with its issues and relationships with other fellow Arab capitals, Failakawi explained in his defense of the traditional Diwan going up against modern literature.
Giving an example on the sociocultural benefits of the movement, Failakawi said that the Kuwaiti house of poetry is home to a constellation of Kuwaiti poets and residents who create and interact with the community.
“Poets are the messengers of beauty and the makers of public conscience,” added Failakawi.
Putting it simply, the Kuwaiti poet said that “if you want to change the actions of a people, first change their feelings.”
“And if you want to change their feelings, then let them express their conscience,” he added.
“Our vision is to create an Arab poetry renaissance which is launched from Kuwait. In order to achieve this, we will allow all forms and schools of Arabic poetry to interact with each other.”
“Each team will listen to the versifiers of the other team and exchange criticism and expertise.”
The National Association of Kuwaiti Writers is the vessel on which the house of poetry floats.
"Poetry still has its great place…. We in the association are proud of them (renowned and traditional Arab poets) and their son very much—and poetry in Kuwait has a long and documented history and literature to its record,” Kuwaiti Writers National Association Chief Talal Saad Al-Rumaydi said.
“The Kuwaiti Literary Association Board of Directors have taken into consideration that poets should have a special forum dedicated to looking after and celebrating their new and old achievements—upon that, it decided on establishing and empowering the Kuwaiti House of Poetry in Kuwait,” Rumaydi added.
"Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has expressed his belief in the importance of Arabic poetry and its active role in the cultural and humanistic movement," Emirati poet and Sharjah House of Poetry Director Abdullah al-Buraiki said.
Buraiki says that the Sharjah house of poetry embraces all poetry trends both in its classical and modernist genres.
He said that most activities center on drawing on the experiences of all creative poets without exception, and promoting their work through Arab cultural and artistic production and exchange.
Buraiki said that the body he heads is committed to a set of main objectives—among these goals is: rooting the role of poetry and poets in cultural movements and society, communicating the voice of poetry to all social sectors, documenting local, Gulf and Arabic poetry movement, as well as supporting poets and encouraging them financially and morally.