offers Arab women a new platform for creation and self-expression teamed up with May Kutbi, the celebrated Saudi poetess and Yves Saint Laurent, to launch a region wide poetry writing contest for Arab women. Five gifted poetesses will be selected and given the unique opportunity to be featured on Ashiqat 2, a follow-up to May’s successful lyrical debut album. Belle, the new eau de perfume from Yves Saint Laurent, has joined the initiative as sole sponsor.

The rich tradition of poetry runs deep in the Middle East. Its magic attracts and holds generation after generation of readers and listeners - particularly the genre of love which is a central theme of poetry across cultures.

Writing, sharing, listening to and understanding poetry lies at the core of the Ashiqat initiative, which aims to bring together young Arab women to create a ‘poetesses’ society’ - an inner circle conversation around poetry.

“We always seek to engage Arab women with new and meaningful experiences. This time it’s about celebrating women’s creativity and creating a space and time where a woman’s individuality and self- expression take center stage, her story can be told and heard by others, and at the end of this journey she feels empowered and richer.”, said Zoya Sakr, the Editor-in-Chief of

"Poetry to me and my generation is like an awaking. With poetry we enter into a whole new world of self-awareness and exploration. This is the starting point for any creative development and self-expression, and I encourage young women to embrace the challenge of creating something new, made from their own fabric”, commented May Kutbi.

While poetry is the focus of the Ashiqat contest with aspiring poets all over the Arab taking over the portal, the community will also be involved.  Readers will vote for their preferred poetry, interact with one another, and be a part of this memorable moment.   

“We were looking for a theme that could put in words the emotions and passion that BELLE, the new oriental fragrance from Yves Saint Laurent, could evoke in every woman who wears the fragrance., through its poetry initiative, offers us a unique platform that combines a dynamic online community with real–time engagement and meaningful interaction with consumers, whilst allowing us a certain degree of ownership and exclusivity of the campaign”, explained Nour Khalife, Sr product manager on Yves Saint Laurent fragrances.

Nour continued: “The poetry writing initiative of is the perfect vehicle for us: it enables us to reach out to young Arab women in a genuine and candid way, giving us the opportunity to introduce the Belle brand (which is a contemporary interpretation of an iconic perfume that captivated women’s senses and imagination for decades) to a new generation of Arab women.”

Rawaa Habib (50) has been an avid reader of poetry all her life: “I enjoy poetry. It's my favorite form of literature. Poetry encapsulates ideas, thoughts and emotions. Poetry is a time capsule, a confession, a story. With poetry, I need to read only a verse or two and I feel it instantly, I connect instantly. I have tried to instill the same passion and appreciation for poetry in my daughters as well.”

“We invite all budding poetesses across the region to be bold, to join our community on and take part in this journey of self-expression”, urged May, adding that she is very excited to discover the five poetesses who will be featured on Ashiqat 2.

The competition runs through the end of May 2011. Readers are encouraged to frequently visit to make sure they don’t miss any of the unique and stimulating content and collaborations as part of the competition.

For more details on submission, guidelines and mechanics of the competition please go to

Since launching in July, has quickly become one of the most popular go to resources for Arab women, amassing more than 6 million views and offering its growing community of over 200,000 women, a destination that both empowers and enhances Arab women’s lives. Its wealth of content covers fashion and beauty, entertainment and celebrity news, health and fitness and will continue to expand in the months ahead.