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Letter from the editor


Reveal Here

‘Then I breathed again…a rose,' by Saudi artist Ola Hejazi.

By Rym Al-Ghazal
February 14th, 2021
"My lover asks me: ‘What is the difference between me and the sky?’ The difference, my love, Is that when you laugh, I forget about the sky.’

Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998), the legendary poet of ‘love’

We all have, or should have, that one person that makes our heart smile and forget everyone and everything else around us. There are so many forms of love, the love of a partner, a parent, a sibling, a child, a pet, a book, a piece of music, a dish, a color, a memory— the list of beloved things and persons are truly limitless. In the month of February, that is widely celebrated as the month of love, we pay homage to this powerful and universal theme of Love. There are

so many ways to say love in Arabic like the gentle ‘Ahwak,' which is more than just love, it is related to sadness, the soul and the air we breathe. In this issue we explore the genre of romantic poetry known as Al Ghazal or Al Ghazel, and feel the anguish and the passion expressed by this region’s greatest poets and poetesses. In Arabic, Shaer (poet) translates to the feeler – or the one who feels. Poems of lost love in the desert are also known as

Al Ghazal Al Udhri or Udhrite Ghazal

After the tribe of Banu Udhrah who were known for their chaste and self-effacing love for the unattainable woman. This special genre emerged in the Umayyad period (7th to 8th centuries CE) and includes the timeless real-life love stories of Majnoun Layla, Qays and his Lubna, Jamil and his Buthayna and Kuthaiyr, the lover of Azza, and many more. But not all are tragic love stories. There are the flirtations of the mischievous 7th-century Umar ibn Abi Rabih who, posing as a hopeless lover, would wait for female pilgrims coming to Makkah, and then pursue them with his poetry. On the cover is the delicate art piece by Saudi artist Ola Hejazi, titled ‘Then I breathed again…a rose,’ capturing the loving moment between a sentimental soul and a rose.

A rose of love.
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