Instead of scribbles hidden away in notebooks, bring your poetry to the stage with literary initiative The Word Project.
Oftentimes people assume that modern art only involves abstract and cubist visual art and minimalist diagrams. This; however, is not entirely accurate as we can safely assume that modernity has crept into literature as well, where written poetry with traditional form and content is also being shaken and reshaped into spoken word or slam poetry. You know, like how poets stand on a small stage and recite - mostly slang - poetry while making utmost use of their body language for the best articulation and effects.
Pioneering that in Cairo is The Word Project, a literary space (literally) for budding Egyptian poets and writers to exhibit their pieces to the literature buffs of Cairo. Every time they choose a different venue for the poetry show and go by the slogan “We bring art to the people.”
Performing at places such as cultural centers and college campuses, The Word Project makes an open call for Egypt’s talented writers and poets who can simply sign up to participate in the semi-monthly poetry slams in Arabic and English. Some performances even include live music playing, adding even more to the intimacy of the thoughts portrayed in the writing.
Haidy Zakaria started the project in 2014 because she couldn’t find a venue that provides space for such expression. “It has been growing since then and took on a life of its own,” Zakaria says. However, tells adds that The Word Project will not be limited to spoken word but also to include all forms of art. “We’re now offering workshops, one of which will be launched next month in Bikya Book Café, where we will be teaching poetry and writing sessions as well as ones on the arts.”
Zakaria was moved to take action with regards to the literary scene in Cairo because she believes that before that, people’s poetry consisted of scribbles hidden in notebooks probably never seeing the light, or were released in snippets on Twitter without a committed venue to help them express their different works of art. “Our sessions and slams now include not only poets but also musicians playing Rock, Pop, and Indie. We’ve even had a few comedians performing and people telling a story instead of a poem.”
The Word Project, now growing, includes a lot of people working hard and truly investing in the initiative. “They’re all artists of different media such as videographers and graphic designers,” Zakaria elaborates.
Zakaria also tells Cairo Scene that, “What we hope to achieve now is to try and reach out to more people in Cairo and Egypt and try to tell them that there is a place where they can share their poetry, a place to help them become better poets and better artists.”
So, you can see that now is the time to unleash (without stage fright) the poet in you and maybe even make some pun-loving friends along the way.