Sufi Poets Series


The Sufi Poets Series Mandate & Objectives:

Sufi poetry has inspired thousands, if not millions, of people around the world. It is timeless and timely. Our objective is to revive Sufi poets and poetry through creative performances & collaboration. We hope to honour those who have come before us by establishing a new tradition with their guidance and poetic brilliance. Each series will feature and honour a different sufi poet.

Key Elements to the Sufi Poets Series (SPS): 


 “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” 

― Rumi

1. SPS aims to feature poets and performers from a broad spectrum of communities, backgrounds and traditions- not just those familiar with sufism and sufi poetry. It’s what happens when poets who have never heard of Rabi’a or Bulleh Shah react and respond through creativity, collaboration and innovation. It is about building a bridge between seemingly very different people- to demonstrate that there is room and a way for all of us.

“Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.”


2. The SPS is not about featuring one specific performer or poet. The vision of the series is to take the focus off ‘features’ and focus on the poet we’re honouring, and how we can all forget our need to be the centre of attention on stage so we can honour each other’s contributions. It’s about what happens when people who have never stepped on stage before perform sufi poetry for the first time, and are followed by people who ‘live, breathe and eat’ on stage. This is a crucial element to Sufi Poets Series because it reminds professionals to stay humble, and gives new performers confidence and a community to find support in.  Like in life, we are all equals on stage.

“When you work in the world to earn your living
Do not, for one moment, rely on your own strength.”

– Saadi

3. SPS’ is grassroots. The participation of the intimate audience makes it a unique experience. SPS will remain to be a bi-yearly, grassroots event, perhaps with the possibility of one major event at a theatre if the conditions are right to make that a reality. There will also be performance community building/collaborative summits which will be open to all who want to share sufi poetry and music in a supportive, non-judgemental environment.

“Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving — it doesn’t matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.”


4. It is crucial that the SPS remains an affordable event. Sufi poets from the past have  always spoken for the people, which is why we have to ensure that audience members from all financial backgrounds will be able to attend the SPS should they choose to.


SufiPoetsSeries_Bullah Shah


Celebrating Bulleh Shah: A Night of Poetry and Music

March 29th, 2013

Featured: Ali Abbas, Ikhwan Allani, Ali Alikhani, Patrick Connors, Lishai, Samer Shahid Khan, Azalea Ray, Near East Ensemble, Sassan Irani, Aiden S and Mehdi Rezania

Who was Bulleh Shah?

Bulleh Shah is believed to have been born in 1680, in the small village of Uch, Bahawalpur, Punjab, in present day Pakistan. Bulleh Shah’s writings represent him as a humanist, someone providing solutions to the sociological problems of the world around him as he lives through it, describing the turbulence his motherland of Punjab is passing through, while concurrently searching for God.  Bulleh Shah maintained that violence was not the answer to violence.



A Night Of Women’s Poetry: Celebrating Rabi’a of Basra 

November 9th, 2012 

Featured: Mahlikah Awe:ri, Ayesha Chatterjee, Doyali Islam , Andrea Thompson, Jacqueline Valencia

Who is Rabi’a of Basra?

Born in Basra in the eighth century of an impoverished family, orphaned and sold into slavery, Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya from Basra was one of the most important founders of the mystical element of Islam, known as Sufism. The stories about her life and teachings illustrate a woman free from many of the traditional constraints placed on women’s lives.

One thought on “Sufi Poets Series

  1. Pingback: Write Club Toronto January 15th! « jacqueline valencia

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