"Abdulaziz Albabtain: Poetry is a talent from Allah; I have no role in it."
December 1, 2022
Okaz Newspaper in Saudi Arabia conducted an extensive interview with the poet Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, in which he discussed his journey and beginnings in the world of poetry. He recounted how he became proficient in this splendid art, as his talent for composing poetry emerged when he composed his first poem as a young teenager. His poetic creativity has continued to flourish since then.
He said that "poetry is a gift from Allah, and I have no role to it. It was born within me, and perhaps I contributed to its encouragement and development. The poetry deeply rooted within me is the vertical poetry (Columnar Verse) that the nation takes pride in, as it is one of its fundamental legacies dating back hundreds of years. Arabs knew it before Islam, and poets continued to compose it and sing its praises until this day. The obsession with poetry began with me at an early age; I experienced it when I was young, and I was encouraged by what I heard from the poems of poets in my brother Abdullatif's diwan. Poetry remained nestled within me until this talent burst forth in composing my first poem as a young teenager. This talent then grew, and over time, with my extensive reading of poets' collections, I became proficient in this splendid art. I composed many vertical poems and published three collections: 'Bawh Al-Bawadi' (Intimations of the Deserts) in 1995, 'Traveler in the Deserts' (Wastefarer) in 2004, and 'Oghniyat Al-Fayafi’ (Songs of the Deserts) in 2017. However, I had been composing these poems long before these years, and I kept them to myself, not desiring to publish them. There was a dream that occupied my thoughts, a dream that is dear to me and has been pressing on me since I realized the immense value of poetry in building the nation's past, present, and future. This dream was to establish an institution that cares for Arab poetry and celebrates Arab poets."
He pointed out that "for him, poetry is a highly artistic pleasure even as it takes shape and prepares itself for presentation. The state of creativity in literature and the arts is something difficult to describe, yet beautiful and enjoyable. The word becomes the thought when it takes form; it is a divine gift to humans that distinguishes them from all other creatures, especially in the realm of the boundless beauty of poetry."
In this interview, he addressed "the challenges and significant risks that classical Arabic language has faced in the past. He noted that even in our present time, it encounters certain dangers. Some of these can be observed in advertisements, streets, commercial storefronts, and the proliferation of non-Arabic names on these facades, particularly due to the substantial presence of expatriate communities in the Arabian Gulf region. Furthermore, one of the aspects of these risks involves many families pressuring their children to learn and master foreign languages at the expense of the Arabic language."
He elaborated on the subject of Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation and indicated that "the establishment of the Foundation was not merely a cultural luxury or a display of material resources. Nor was it just an insistence on realizing a dream. Instead, it was a determination to emphasize the role of poetry in the life of the nation. Poetry is the Register of the Arabs, their record that has penetrated even the most intricate aspects of their affairs, recording and preserving them. This is because the poet is endowed with advanced consciousness, with the ability to create, transparency, and insightful perception. For an Arab, poetry is a source of self-gratification and spiritual fulfillment, from which they draw what pleases the soul and elevates the spirit. It stirs emotions and brings delight."