A poem that mixed reality and fantasy in which Mohammed al Saeed of Saudi Arabia professed a profound love for his homeland earned him a spot in the finals of the Million's Poet competition. The semifinals of the televised competition began on Wednesday night, and Mr al Saeed won the judges' vote to become the first poet to reach the final round.
Three other poets who competed Wednesday night - Hessa Hilal of Saudi Arabia, Ali al Merri of Qatar and Falah al Muwreqqi of Kuwait - must await the results of SMS and online voting to learn which two will join Mr al Saeed in the finals. "I bear witness that you are indeed a poet," Dr Ghassan al Hassan, a member of the jury, told Mr al Saeed. He said the work was unique because the poet used a "debate style" in expressing his feelings. "You also used a lot of poetic imagination, which helped in delivering the message," the judge said.
Ms Hilal addressed her homeland's worries and troubles in her poem. Dr al Hassan said her poem revolved around one idea throughout, which did not benefit the piece as a whole. But another judge praised her work. "The first five verses had strong poetic language," Sultan al Amimi said. "There were a lot of non-alive objects transformed into alive ones, such as the 'faces of truth' ... which added a lot of beauty and poetic language to the piece."
Four more poets will compete in the second round of semifinals next week, to determine the last three spots in the finals. They are Jazaa al Baqmi and Mastoura al Ahmadi of Saudi Arabia and Sultan al Asaimar and Nasser al Ajami of Kuwait. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org