Ousha bint Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Suwaidi

Poet Ousha bint Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Suwaidi was born into a household that loved literature. As a youngster she had the opportunity to meet many poets and listen to their poetry. Ousha recited poetry by the age of 15 and quickly received recognition for her abilities within the poetry community; a huge achievement considering that poetry was primarily male dominated at that time. Writing many poems in a short space of time, Ousha gained the nickname “Gulf Laureate Poet”. Keen to develop her talents, Ousha read classical poetry by Al Mutannabi, Abu Tammam and Al Ma’ari, alongside the work of local poets, including Al Majidi bin Thahir, Rashid Al Khalawi, Saleem bin Abdul Hai and Mohsin Hazzani. An inspiration to the women’s poetry movement in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, with Ousha’s encouragement, the poetic voice of women became strong and essential to the cultural scene across the Emirates. The Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan recognized her role in highlighting the local vocabulary and identity of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE through her work. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai named Ousha the “Arab Laureate Poetess” following her participation in a series of poetry recitals with him. Many of her poems have become the basis of song lyrics sung by local artists. Through the songs, her words made a further contribution, highlighting the role of the feminine literary movement in local cultural projects. Her poetry has covered a variety of themes including love, wisdom, nostalgia, praise and patriotic feelings. Her poems are written in Classical Arabic, the most important of which was written in praise of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. Her vocabulary and style draws heavily on the environment in which she has lived, portraying intimate pictures of the local environment - land and sea, past and present - in the UAE.

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