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Who will be the next Prince of Poets?

Though Canada may not be all that keen on poetry, Abu Dhabi is making its love of all things poetic known today with the kickoff of the annual Prince of Poets competition.

Now in its third year, the 10-week-long televised competition will feature 35 poets vying for the coveted title. According to The Book Bench, the event drew thousands of attendees in previous years, with millions more watching on TV.

As is often the case with contests like this one (think American Idol?), it’s the runner-up who wins the fame game. The first year of Prince of Poets was marred by controversy; there were claims that the judges, hoping to engender national pride, awarded the top prize to the Emirati poet Karim Maato, when the Palestinian poet Tamim Al-Barghouti was favored to win (he came in fifth). It’s Al-Barghouti, though, whose stardom increased. His poem In Jerusalem even became a ringtone.