Throughout 2018, we will be celebrating today’s new class of reinventors, inspiring people who defy convention while redefining their impact on our world. From city planners to philanthropic entrepreneurs, artists and more, we are spotlighting interesting people doing amazing acts of reinvention.
One afternoon in 2015, a Syrian mathematician living in New York posted a poem he’d written to his Facebook page. Composed in the classical seventh-century Arabic of the Quran as well as the strict poetic meter of that time, the 30-line poem told the story of a man who had lost his son. It had taken the author eight months to compose and polish it.
Samer Takriti was new to poetry. Three years earlier, after the death of his father, a family doctor in Damascus, Takriti had found himself not only grieving but also hungry to communicate what he was feeling. He had always loved words, and the beautifully calligraphed Arabic writing in the classical style, all fitting into neat columns, spoke to his soul in a way that numbers never had. So the mathematician reinvented himself: He became a poet.
“It went viral”
Takriti’s compositions, posted on Facebook, quickly attracted followers. But his 2015 poem about the grieving father became a sensation. People across the Middle East, Europe and America shared it with friends. Within weeks, half a million people were following Takriti’s page. “It went viral,” he recalls. Perhaps, he muses, the poem provided comfort to people in Syria whose lives were marked by loss, tragedy, exile and the ravages of the Islamic State.
Two years later, Takriti is a poetry star on Facebook, with 1.4 million followers. He posts poems accompanied by his own photographs, and features videos narrated by poems, accompanied by music.