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Hissa Hilal

Foto: The Poetess 2017

HISSA HILAL (b 1965, Saudi Arabia) is a poet who made headlines around the world in 2010 as the first woman ever to make it to the finals of Million's Poet, an Abu-Dhabi-based TV show where the contestants recite their own poetry.

She has published three poetry collections: The Language of the Sand Heap, The Bedewed One and Enlightenment. The last of these is a compilation of Hilal's poems from the past decade, including “Fatwa”, which was much talked about after her participation in Million's Poet.

Hilal has also edited Divorce and Kholu' Poetry: A Reading of the Status of Women in Tribal Society and Nabati Poetry as a Witness, a collection of poems written before 1950 by Bedouin women.

Hilal writes Nabati poetry and in Arabic. Nabati poetry is the traditional poetry of the Arab tribes of Arabia and neighboring areas, originally being an oral art. Traditional Nabati poetry have specific themes and vocabulary, where the poets compose verses similar in structure, metre and rhyme. Although a variety of rhyme schemes and poetic forms can be used, the most commons type by far is still the "ode". Moderne Nabati Poetry is still characterized by praise, satire, elegy, advice, love, and lyric poetry.

She starred in the documentary The Poetess (2017), directed by Stefanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff.

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