Different Dialogues : Extended & Enlarged Version of Dr. Shihab GHANEM'S INTERVIEW

Extended & Enlarged Version of Dr. Shihab Ghanem's Interview – Emirati Poet and Poetry Translator, Dubai, U.A.E.
Educational background: Master’s Degree in Engineering. Ph. D in Economics.

  • In 1989, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum awarded Dr. Shihab Ghanem the Rashid Award for Scientific Excellence.
  • In 2003 and 2007, Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi awarded the Book prize of Sharjah book fair to Dr. Shihab Ghanem.
  • In 2012, Nadwat Al Thaqafah and Muhammad Al Murr awarded the Al Owais Award to Dr. Shihab Ghanem for 1st translation of Kamala Suraiyya’s book.

Q1. In your view, what is most important in life? Accordingly, name three aspects, important in life.
A. The most important thing in life is to know the purpose of life. As a believer in God the purpose to me is to serve and worship Him. Not just through the rituals of prayer, etc, but also through trying to be good in all of one’s actions, words and also thoughts. Through giving rather than taking, or at least through give and take. Through leaving this world, as far as one’s existence is concerned, a better place than one found it, even by a very tiny bit.

Q2. If you were not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?
A. I would be teaching or volunteering for benevolent work.

Q3. What motivates you to achieve your goal?
A. Pleasing Allah. Seeking knowledge. Feeding myself and family. Striving to spread high ideals like justice, freedom, love and beauty. Spreading knowledge and creative work of beauty and value, both my own or that of others.

Q4. How do you handle stress and pressure?
A. Through remembering Allah and reading the Quran. Also through reading, writing and translating poetry. And through chatting with those I love such as my granddaughter, or with poets, intellectuals and friends. And through looking at beautiful green areas and trees, beaches and serene places.

Q5. Which of your qualities would you want to pass down to your child/children?
A. Perseverance and hard-work and forgiveness.

Q6. Who is your favourite author? Which book of your favourite author have you enjoyed the best?
A. The most important book in my life is definitely the Glorious Quran.

Q7. What are you pursuing currently, by the way of a light hobby, or by the way of a serious goal?
A. I do a little bit of walking, mainly for exercise.

Q8. In the last 1 year, is your particular goal advancing? Which is that goal/dream?
A. I have this year completed writing my 50th book and I am working on a few more books; then I might stop writing books. But I think I will continue to write poems and translate some as long as I have the ability. My writing nowadays is less in quantity than it used to be a few years ago.

Recap of the conversation with Dr. Shihab Ghanem – Emirati Poet and Poetry Translator, Dubai, U.A.E, which appeared in the month of August 2010.

Before I spoke to Dr. Shihab Ghanem — in a very informal setting of our drawing room, the Emirati poet had just recited a favourite poem of his. For us, the poem Bakhbookh, broke the barriers of a foreign language, because the poet had instantly reinforced the Arabic content of Bakhbookh by translating it into English. On our enthusiastic requests, he recited a few more verses, drawing them from his memory. The spontaneous backward and forward exploration of meanings converted the evening into a string of melodies.

Meet Dr. Shihab Ghanem. He is a leading poet of the U.A.E and the foremost translator of Indian poetry into Arabic. To his credit, he has more than ten anthologies of poetry in the Arabic language. He has also published more than sixteen collections of translated poems from Arabic into English, and from English, or, other foreign languages (through English) into Arabic. His favourite English poets include Shakespeare and Auden.

A widely traveled man, some of the countries Dr. Shihab Ghanem has visited on cultural basis are England (Cambridge Annual Literary Seminar), Kuwait (Al Babateen Seminar + Al Qurain Seminar + Invitation by Ministry of Culture to visit Cultural Institutions), Tunis (Al Babateen Seminar), Algeria (Al Babateen Seminar), India (Cultural visit to Kerala by Ministry of Tourism), Egypt (Translation Seminar), Saudi Arabia (Al Janadiriyah Seminar more than once), Bahrain (Poetry Seminar).

Dr. Shihab Ghanem is a recipient of numerous high-ranking awards and a well-respected figure on the poetry and literary forums. Always moving with his constant companions, the quill and books, Dr. Shihab Ghanem is working on several projects, currently. Among the Arab poets, Dr. Shihab Ghanem respects his father M. A. Ghanem, Al Mutanabi, Ahmed Shawqi for their verse.

Q 1. What has been the turning point of your life?
A. Several incidents, I treat them as turning points in my life. Reading the Quran for the first time. Getting married and becoming a father. Going away to study in UK and India. Even the process of composing poems and subsequently seeing them in published form is in a way like being the turning point.

Q 2. If you could go back in time, what would you want to do?
A. I would avoid all the mistakes I have made in my life. I would focus on one specialization in my studies and learn some basic useful skills.

Q 3. What are your future dreams?
A. My dream is that the world becomes more peaceful, and that Palestine: the last occupied country in the world be liberated so that the Middle-East becomes stable and our children and grand-children and all the Arabs can then focus on education, economic, social and political development.

For more information, click on to http://shihabghanem.blogspot.com

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