The Strategy of Poetry in the UAE: Another Awesome Project by my Strategy Boys

I have already blogged about poetry – Arabic poetry – and how it is a useful tool to teach management to students here in the UAE. Really though, it is ideal to teach strategy (I just wish I knew Arabic to understand the words, not just the meaning. I am kind of lazy and only learn languages when I have no choice, and here English is really used everywhere).

So this blogpost (and I was warned by a student that I seem to be addicted to blogging now, and I think he might be right!) is about poetry and strategy and the event my full-semester strategy class organised (BUS-402-901 Spring 2012).

From their project report I know that Arabic poetry has a huge impact in the Arab world. I kind of relate it to the troubadours of old – poetry was about love and history and battles and was used to inspire, teach, woo, and thank.

Now Arabic poetry is complicated, and there are two main kinds – rhyming and prose – but rhyming is used more. Rhyming poems have measures or “seas” and there can be 15 (The Science of Arood) or 16, of course this reminds me of sonnets in English. But yeah, we remember learning about sonnets and meters and things like that in English Literature classes – but Strategy class? Huh?

Well – in the Gulf especially poetry is all about strategy. I am blessed to have had many poets in my classes (both male and female) – and they write poems about their families, love, friendship, loyalty and they also write poems for special events and to thank an important person.

Many events here begin with a poem – and there are many famous poems throughout the history of the UAE and many of the leaders here are also very accomplished poets. Poetry is more than the highest art form – it transcends art and literature and history – this is what I feel and what the students try to explain to me.

They have also explained that in the distant past, when tribes would have “issues” with one another, these issues could be mended through a poem – a delegate from one tribe would visit another with a poem of praise or “I am sorry, but I am a guy and can’t say sorry”. I am not making light of it, I think it is a way of expressing deep respect – and a way of resolving conflicts (or potential conflicts) without more conflicts. It was also used to send political messages and avenues for solution indirectly, with sophistication and – uhm, poetry.

In the past as well it was used to rally the troupes in periods of wars and battles. I am also told that poetry has been used to court women so that they will marry the poet (or person who paid a poet to write the poem) and I am assured it works most of the time!

So, now the event. I have some very talented poets in class as I mentioned and they organised an event (and wrote poems themselves for the event) to recite the different types of poems and explain a little how they can be used. Poems can be about love, make people happy or laugh and also about the military – to raise morale and increase patriotism. Poetry will always bring out a crowd and it did again this time. Again, I guess I have too much of my mother in me, but I enjoy just listening to them recite the poems and hear the audience reaction – that may sound weird to you, but really it is beautiful.

I wrote too much again! But below are photos of the poets and one of me greeting the Vice-President of the University – who came to ever single event the boys organised J Milles mercis!

Three poets left to right: Ahmed Al Mansoory, Ahmed Al Kendi and Mohamed Al Dhanhani

The fresh dates in front of Ahmed tasted so, so, so, so good!

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