We are the Home of Somali Poetry
WHAT WE DO
Somali poetry is among the best in the world. It deserves a first-class home to keep it safe and an organisation that can promote it with pride and love.
Poetry also unites all Somalis, wherever they are, and this common language and literary inheritance can be a powerful tool for peace.
We have created the Home of Somali Poetry and the Somali Poetry Awards to preserve Somali poetry, showcase it to the world and use its power to heal divides and spur development.
Our mission is threefold:
ONE: We provide a beautiful home for Somali poetry that can build national pride and showcase it to the world. Our website hosts the Somali Poetry Archive, which preserves the classics and showcases new work from a fresh generation of poets – a resource for Somalis to take pride in their cultural achievements and a window into the world of Somali poetry for people abroad.
The website is also an online magazine for poetry-related news and articles, interviews with poets, live performances, learning resources and more: a virtual community where all Somalis can come together to enjoy their shared literary inheritance.
TWO: We run the Somali Poetry Awards – the Oscars of Somali poetry, which recognise the very best creative talent each year across three categories:
- The Somali Poet of the Yea – open to anyone writing in Somali, no matter where they are from.
- The UNDP Woman Poet of the Year – for the best poetry written by women to help make sure their voices are heard.
- The Somali Youth Poet of the Year – for the best poetry submitted by anyone under 25.
THREE: We also run special events to promote Somali poetry and use its power for peace and unity. This includes advocacy campaigns driven by the power of the pen and events that use poetry to overcome conflict and bring Somalis together to share and enjoy their art. We also commission work from new poets, including women and minorities, put out a yearly anthology of Somali poetry and organise online and in-person live performances and cultural exchange programmes among museums, festivals and other institutions.
Somalia is a nation of poets. Poetry is hugely popular across the country, enjoyed by the young and old, the literate and illiterate, and by both men and women. It has traditionally been used not only for communication, but also to record history and, more importantly, to solve disputes.
Despite decades of conflict and huge changes in Somali society and ways of life, this cultural tradition remains as relevant as ever. Its universal popularity and use of a common language make it both a unifying force and a powerful medium to raise awareness.
Against this background, the Somali Poetry Association was established in 2021. Our board members include the following distinguished Somali poets: