The Six: Spoken word scene in the UAE

Spoken word forums. (Shutterstock)
Updated 10 January 2019

The Six: Spoken word scene in the UAE

DUBAI: Spoken word has been gaining traction in the UAE, with more and more “open mic” events being hosted in different venues across the country. Some are attended by a big crowd; others are more intimate. Here is a selection.

Punch Poetry
Founded by award-winning Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck, this open-mic night in Dubai started in 2013, the same year Beck won a Backwaters Prize for her “To Live in Autumn” poetry collection about Beirut.

Rooftop Rhythms
One of the more popular groups, Rooftop Rhythms is based in Abu Dhabi, and was founded by poet and educator Dorian Paul Rogers. It promotes community-based arts and culture through its regular gatherings.

Blank Space
This open-mic platform in Dubai is hosted monthly at the Book Munch Cafe in one of the city’s busiest business districts. It attracts more than 120 people in an intimate creative gathering, where 25 people usually take the stage.

Dubai Poetics
This group focuses on empowering grassroots poetry and visual art through encouraging local artists to submit their works. It publishes curated art pieces online, which attract audiences across the region.

DXB Speakeasy
This was born out of the passion of three spoken-word artists, who teamed up to establish a poetry platform that promotes both writing and performing poems. Workshops are under way for artists who want to learn more about the craft.

Based in Abu Dhabi, Echoes hosts open mics at Shabby Chic, a local cafe in the UAE capital. Its goal is to “give voices” to new and budding talents, not only in poetry, but also in music.


Where We Are Going Today: Shatllah

Updated 22 March 2019

Where We Are Going Today: Shatllah

  • Shatllah’s prices are reasonable, while the assistants are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful

Do you need to add a little life and color to your surroundings? Houseplants are often said to be a source of positivity, and Shatllah has taken this concept to the next level.

Forget the idea of a lonely looking plant in a boring beige pot; this shop adds beautifully designed containers and creative touches that turn them into delightful decorations that are almost works of art. One in particular that caught my eye was designed to look like a tiny garden, complete with a miniature table and chair.

Shatllah’s creations make for perfect gifts, which is how I discovered the shop, in Jeddah’s Al-Zahra’a district, while looking for a present for a friend who loves houseplants. I was so impressed with its wares that I ended up buying some for myself as well. After all, who would not rather have a living plant decorating their home rather than artificial flowers or other fake items?

Shatllah’s prices are reasonable, while the assistants are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. They are more than happy to offer advice on picking the perfect plant and how to take care of it when you get it home.