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Saudis Celebrate World Poetry Day [Saudi Arabia]:
JEDDAH, 22 March 2007 — For the first time in city’s literary history, the poetry group at the Jeddah Literary Club on Tuesday celebrated the International Poetry Day with several poets reading poetry accompanied by lute played by musician Abdul Rahman Al-Marbaani.

Ahmed Qarran, poet and the group’s founder, described the day’s attendance as “beyond description.” Such literary events are usually at best only attended by 30-40 people. However, on Tuesday over 160 poetry lovers, both men and women, attended the event. Sixty women sat in the library on the second floor while over 100 men sat in the main hall on the first floor of the literary club. Women had the advantage of watching the poets reading their poetry on a TV screen.

“Surprisingly, it was crowded. That’s good. But the poetry recital was not that good, especially on the women’s side. They were just over-sentimental. Saudi women poets sure need a lot of practice before facing an audience,” said Norah Muhammad, one of the participants. [...]
Well, yeah: Riyadh Literary Club Opens Door for Women just last January:
[...] Literary clubs, located in the Kingdom’s large cities, play an important role in promoting intellectual and artistic events. Riyadh’s Literary Club is the last of the country’s clubs to facilitate women, who have been able to participate in events in Jeddah, Dammam and Abha for years, albeit in gender-segregated settings that provide better seating for men who can be present in the hall where the event is taking place. Women, on the other hand, must watch events unfold in a separate room through a television screen. [...]
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