Calling emerging poets! The Middle East’s longest-running open mic event now offers a safe space for young people looking to take their first step towards becoming a spoken word poet.

Join Dorian Rogers, performance poet and 2-time regional and national poetry slam champion, Hip Hop artist, educator, and founder of Rooftop Rhythms for a performance workshop followed by a poetry open mic on 28 January 2023 at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Register your interest by requesting an invitation at the link above, and you will receive two tutorial videos to get you started on writing your own poetry. Participants will have the opportunity to develop their performance skills and perform their piece to an intimate, invited audience of participants’ family members, friends, and peers after the workshop.

This workshop is open to aspiring poets aged 12-17 years.

Deadline to submit applications is Friday, 20 January 2023.

The event schedule will be as follows:

  • 12pm – Registration and welcome remarks
  • 12:15 -1:45pm – Workshop (90 minutes)
  • 1:45pm – Break for lunch (vouchers provided for participants)
  • 2:30-3:30pm – Performances

The Arts Center’s Youth Engagement Program is supported by the US Mission in the UAE.

Rooftop Rhythms

The Middle East’s longest-running poetry open mic night enters its second decade while doing its part to build the performing arts scene of the UAE.

Join leading and up-and-coming spoken word artists, poets, and musicians presenting original material. Experience culturally-diverse voices with a lineup that features open mic nights and poetry slam competitions. Rooftop Rhythms is hosted by founder Dorian Paul Rogers, Ed.D.

Rooftop Rhythms is presented in partnership with The Arts Center at NYUAD with official support of the US Mission to the UAE.

Rooftop Rhythms and The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi are committed to providing a platform for locally based artists to share their original creative work in front of a supportive community. In an effort to foster local talent, we ask that all poets and musicians perform original material; all languages are welcome.

Founder of Rooftop Rhythms

Dorian Paul Rogers is a performance poet and two-time regional and national poetry slam champion, Hip Hop artist, educator, and events curator. In 2002, he self-published his first poetry collection, For Mulattoes Only at the age of twenty. In 2006, Dorian released his first poetry album, Freight Train of Thought followed by Where’s Pauldo? in 2012. In 2021, Rogers released the self-published The Million Mile Stare, a poetry collection and adult coloring book which was illustrated by his sister, Gabrielle Fludd.

Rogers was first exposed to performance poetry by attending an open mic by Back Talk Poetry Troupe of the poetry collective, Black on Black Rhyme. Much of his poetry addresses his childhood and trauma that he suffered as a bi-racial child growing up in rural Albany, Georgia. His work often aims to be the voice for disadvantaged communities. He has been a featured speaker at over forty universities across the USA and has performed poetry in Ghana, Seychelles, Germany, The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia, South Africa, and Singapore.

In 2012, Dorian founded Rooftop Rhythms, a monthly poetry open mic in the UAE which has gone on to become the Middle East’s largest and longest running poetry event of its kind. His cultural events have been highlighted on CNN, BBC, and Euronews. In 2022, Rogers was chosen to be the lead curator for UAE’s contemporary poetry delegation at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. He is the 2005 Southern Fried Poetry Slam Individual Champion and 2007 National Poetry Slam Champion (Slam Charlotte).

Dorian holds an Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University, an M.S. in Urban Teacher Leadership from Georgia State University, and a B.S. in English Education from Florida State University. He currently resides in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with his wife and daughter.