Arts & Culture

Featured Poet Dana Abdulhay

By Rebecca Dow

As many of you know, April is National Poetry Month. Recently, I have come across a writer who has chosen to pursue recognition for her works. On April 13, Dana Abdulhay performed an ekphrastic poem for the Portland Museum of Art’s ArtWord event organized by Lee Sharkey. An ekphrastic poem, for those unaware, describes visual artwork interpreted through the lense of the writer’s own perspective; these poems are often spoken word.

To apply for ArtWord, participants were required to choose a piece of visual art already on display in the museum; then they had to submit up to three poems inspired by their exhibit of choice. Dana Abdulhay was one of 24 individuals accepted from the pool of applicants who submitted their work.



Photo Courtesy of the Portland Museum of Art.

She had the opportunity to perform her poem in public while standing next to Angela Dufresne’s oil on canvas painting, “Dean Moss” — which was her inspiration. Abdulhay’s poem is titled, “So Keep Pretending” (shown below). Originally from Iraq, she’s lived in many places, acquiring multiple interests along the way.


Currently she is majoring in Liberal Studies at SMCC to better explore her interests and talents. Eventually, she hopes to settle on an international-relations career, as she has expressed a deep-rooted desire to create change in the world. “I’ve been a refugee, and that’s all about politics,” she said. “It has an effect on me and my family, … and [the] refugee crisis . . . has an effect on us — so I understand that there’s more to it.”

To be skilled in public relations, good writing is helpful; poetry, creative writing, and on the technical side of things, essays. Abdulhay first heard about ArtWord during a field trip organized by her Creative Writing class. Coincidentally, this is the first course she’s taken that is dedicated to improving one’s writing abilities.

This year is only the second time ArtWord has occurred, however it will likely continue to showcase the talents of local writers in future years. Please, enjoy Dana’s poem and remember the power that thoughtful words can hold. Poetry is art in and of itself: important, beautiful and full of meaning.

So Keep Pretending
By Dana Abdulhay

Like the rain cycle,
you seem like the rain cycle.
your body is evaporating under the warmth of the sun,
warmth taking a piece of you everytime you try to hunt the shadow,
hunting comfort in a busy life,
turning your strong body weak.

Heavy rain clouds during a sunny day is your face,
filled with tears but you keep pulling on the reins,
a shiny life is surrounding your dark tales,
so keep pretending.

Rest your feet, they have seen hard roads,
tiredness they carry, from wandering back and forth.
I see the tiredness in your eyes keeps shining,
you are smiling through thick and thin, smiling
working hard with a fraudulent smile, but at least you keep trying.

Let the world know that you are alright,
fool it but you can’t fool the black and white
stripes, surrounding you inside and out
So keep pretending.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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