RESISTANCE! Exhibition Closing Reception

A SPECIAL POST-YIDDISH NEW YORK EVENT!

Resistance: a word that has urgent relevance to events past and present. This past Yiddish New York, curators Deborah Ugoretz and Tine Kindermann invited contemporary New York-area artists to participate in a timely dialogue: What defines resistance?

Join us for the closing reception of this stunning exhibit, featuring Tine Kindermann and Josh Waletzky performing a special program of songs of resistance. More performers and programming TBA!

 

Bronx Rising! Fancy Footwork in the Diaspora

For our February Bronx Rising! we celebrate Black History Month with Fancy Footwork in the Diaspora!

The event will trace the routes of rhythmic footwork from Africa and Europe to the Western Hemisphere with a discussion led by dancer and choreographer Mercedes Ellington, accompanied by tap dancer Max Pollak. Featuring an Afro-Peruvian zapateo performance by The Afro-Peruvian Ensemble.

Saturday, February 17 at 7pm
Admission fee: $7 | $5 for students and IG residents | FREE for kids 12 and under.
Co-sponsored by City Lore

Love in the English Language:

A VALENTINES DAY MISSIVE

Poetry of Everyday Life Blogpost #8

Graphic by Eva Pedriglieri

A story. It is said that once when the famous violinist Itzhak Perlman was playing a concert in Carnegie Hall, a string on his violin snapped. His playing came to an abrupt halt. The audience expected the violinist to disappear backstage to restring his instrument. Instead, he motioned to the conductor to begin the movement again. Then, through sheer genius and determination, he proceeded to play the entire length of the piece on only three strings. The audience was stunned. He silenced them with one simple sentence: “The challenge in life is to make music with what remains.”

In the wake of tragedy or true love, both of which leave us at a loss for words, we look for the terms that can express something meaningful in the face of the unfathomable. The word love comes from the Old English lufian, “to feel love for, cherish, show love to; delight in, approve.” Sources say that the romantic use of the word to mean “being in love” dates back to the mid-thirteenth century.

When it comes to expressing love in our time—and I write here of the word itself—the English language harbors some of the qualities of that three-stringed violin. According to one set of rhyming dictionaries online, Spanish poets have 636 words at their disposal to rhyme with amor,. The French amour has 928. The English love, however, has a mere 6: glove, above, dove, shove, of, and thereof. A friend, George McClure, suggested we might add “.gov”. Lufian would certainly have made for an easier rhyme, but love is what remains.  As my friend Carolyn Wells put it, “They don’t call them Romance languages for nothing.”

The poet Bob Holman simply suggests new pronunciations for English. “What I’d like to see is love rhyme with stove, ’cause that’s what heats it up and gets it cookin’.”

The challenge for the poets writing in English is to create poems using the words at hand. And yet the best English-language poets compose beautiful music using just those six rhyming words. They find ingenious ways to turn what my wife, folklorist Amanda Dargan, calls a “creative constraint” to their advantage.

William Shakespeare (1564­–­1616), from A Midsummer Night’s Dream: act II, scene II

                                                  Not Hermia, but Helena I love:
                                                  Who will not change a raven for a dove?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806­–1861), from “Sonnet XV”

                                                    Beholding, besides love, the end of love
                                                    Hearing oblivion beyond memory

    As one who sits and gazes from above,
Over the rivers to the bitter sea.

William Butler Yeats (1865–­1939), from his exquisite poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death”

                                                    I know that I shall meet my fate
                                                    Somewhere among the clouds above;
                                                    Those that I fight I do not hate,
                                                    Those that I guard I do not love;

English words don’t rhyme as easily as words in other languages, particularly Romance languages, in which conjugation and gender are expressed in easily rhymable suffixes. Often, translating poets who write in seamless rhyme from other languages can strain the syntax and result in the poem sounding sing-songy in English. Most contemporary English-language poets forego rhyme, but songwriters, beginning at least with Stephen Foster, have rarely shied away from it.

Stephen Foster (1826–­1864), from “I Would Not Die in Springtime”

… let me die in Winter
When night hangs dark above,
And cold the snow is lying
On bosoms that we love
Ah! may the wind at midnight,
That bloweth from the sea,
Chant mildly, softly, sweetly
A requiem for me.

Billie Holiday, “Like Someone in Love” (1957)

Each time I look at you,
I’m limp as a glove,
And feeling like someone in love

The Everly Brothers, from “Bye, Bye Love” (1957) love.

I´m a-through with romance, I´m a-through with love
I´m through with a-countin´ the stars above

Dolly Parton, from “Coat of Many Colors” (1971)

Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin’ every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of

Def Leppard, from “Fractured Love” (1993)

Fractured love, fractured love
Iron fist in a velvet glove

50 Cent, from “Get Up” (2008)

I came to bring you that California love
And a lil’ New York hatin’
It’s all of the above

Certainly the great songwriters of the twentieth century have been undaunted by the limited rhymes for love.

Bob Dylan, from “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” (1975)

Dragon clouds so high above
I’ve only known careless love
It’s always hit me from below

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

But I’ll see you in the sky above
In the tall grass, in the ones I Iove
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go.

Some have also ingeniously used the ghazal style of using the same last word in each line, and rhyming the next to last. They use the same end refrain and a rhyming word before it, or simply use identical rhymes.

Lyle Lovett, from “Farther Down the Line” (1986)

One day she’ll say she loves you
And the next she’ll be tired of you
And push’ll always come to shove you
On that midnight rodeo

Tammy Wynette, from “They Call It Making Love” (1979)

And they call it makin’ love
Makin’ love, makin’ love
Throw it down, pick it up
Dress it up and call it love

Susanna Lee, a member of my Brevitas poetry group, commented in rhyme that there are ways around rhyming the word love:

If there were more
rhymes for “love,”
I’d be sure
to write poems galore
about my sweet dove, Lenore!

Maybe there are more.

Shall I go door to door,
tour libraries,
search cover to cover,
from edge to the core,
the tomes of poems
to discover if there are more
rhyming words for this lover to use,
to write of love?

I’ll pace the floor,
explore the world
from shore to shore,
and surely I’ll find just one more
word that rhymes with “love.”

Shall I use my head, instead,
pore over a thesaurus?
Or is that a chore,
too much for us,
just simple poets?

If I choose instead a word for love,
such as “adore,”
I am sure to find many more
words that rhyme,
like “lore,” “gore,” “nor,” and “door.”

I hear you.
“Adore” is not the word you’re thinking of.
You want more
words that rhyme with “love,”
and nothing more.

So how do I love you? Let me count the words…that rhyme. What does the fact that there are only six words that rhyme with love tell us about love in the English language? “Maybe because nothing can even come near love,” says the poet Sahar Muradi, “it’s fitting that so few things rhyme with it—it’s either love or nothing.”

There may be only six words that rhyme with love, but often there are no words to express how much we love one another. A child asks his mother how much she loves him. She spreads her arms as wide as she can and says, “This much”—as far as she can reach, but more. Then she throws her arms around him like a circle around the sun to show just how much she loves her child.

Fortunately, we don’t have to express our love for one another in rhyme, which would be particularly difficult in English. Certainly, sometimes it is not easy to say the three words that we do have: I love you. There are not six ways to say it, only one. And we water it down by saying, “Love you,” “Luv you,” “or, in writing, “Much love” or “Lotsa love,.” or “ILY.” Some of us are willing to sign some of our letters “Love,” while others feel that it might be sending the wrong message. How often have you wondered, “Will she sign her letter ‘Love’?”

We can all find ways to express our love within the limits of the English language, where there can be six words that rhyme with it, three words that say it, or no words at all. Perhaps this Valentine’s Day, we can find those three words and tell someone, “I love you.” Or, as my high school girlfriend Tilly Lavenas signed a yearbook inscription to me, “I love you madly, endlessly, insufferably, etc.”

In the words written by my wife, Amanda, for her song “Better Angels,” she finds still new and ingenious ways to rhyme the words for love.

Reach for those who love you, angels
Let them fly above you, angels
Singing like a dove, your angels
Hallelujah by and by

* * * *

 

“By showing us that poetry lives everywhere,” writes Bob Holman in the preface to Zeitlin’s new book, The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness, “Steve seems to make the whole world into a poem, with all of us collaborating daily in the writing of it.” If you like the blog, you’ll love the book. Click here to purchase.

Please email your thoughts, stories and responses about the poetic side of life to steve@citylore.org. This monthly post continues to tap into the poetic side of what we often take for granted: the stories we tell, the people we love, the metaphors used by scientists, even our sex lives. I chronicle the poetic moments in life and also look at how we all use poetry in our daily lives. I am a folklorist, and I want to hear from you—because that’s where all the best material comes from. For more information about The Poetry of Everyday Life published by Cornell click here.

 

RESISTANCE! Opening & Holiday Party

YIDDISH NEW YORK’S 2017 VISUAL ARTS EXHIBITION

City Lore’s Holiday Party

Celebrate with us the end of a tremendous year!

 

Postcard designed by Tine Kindermann

 

Yiddish New York, an annual celebration of Yiddish music, language and culture, is proud to collaborate with City Lore to present this year’s art exhibition. The exhibition is curated by Deborah Ugoretz and Tine Kindermann.

This year’s theme is RESISTANCE!

The Jewish holiday of Chanukah reminds us that it is a struggle to maintain the values that bring meaning to our lives. It tells us that the resistance of a few against a mighty force can bring about change if the effort is consistent and passionate. With that in mind, the curators have asked artists to contemplate the meaning of RESISTANCE !

Resistance… a word with urgent relevance to events past and present.

What defines resistance?

As the dictionary defines it:
1) the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.
2) the ability not to be affected by something, especially adversely.

The curators ask: Is resistance always in reaction to events or ideas? Is it always in opposition? What are expressions of resistance in daily life or under extreme circumstances? How do artists transform this concept into concrete form?

The curators of RESISTANCE ! hope that the work in the exhibition will inspire viewers to think about what they might do to motivate themselves to RESIST something negative that has worked its way into their hearts and minds.

EXHIBITION DATES:

December 14th, 2017 – February 25th, 2018
Opening reception (and City Lore Holiday Party):  Thursday, December 14th, 2017,  6pm-10pm
Closing reception and program: February 25th

Badenya Baro! Pre-Kwanzaa Party

A Celebration of West African Culture, Music, Dance Poetry, and Food!

 

 

If you weren’t able to experience Badenya Baro last year, we invite you to this year’s pre-Kwanzaa celebration!

“Baro” is a an occasion for music and conversation (stories, poetry, songs) in the Mandeng community. What are the main components for a successful Baro?

FOOD, MUSIC, AND DANCING!

Meet with and talk to the talented artists joining us and enjoy West African food at this unforgettable event. In addition to food, music, poetry, and dancing, host Kewulay Kamara will be showing a newly-created multi-media performance.

Participating Artists
Pupa Bajah – rapp
Ibrahim “ Kolipe” Camara -djimbe drum
Abdoulaye Diabate – voice & guitar
Aminata Diabate – food
Exile Dynamic – hip hop
Kevin Nathaniel Hylton – mbira
Rashida Ibrahim -poetry
Ebrima Jassey – bala(fon)
Kewulay Kamara – story
Kotchegna Mask Dance
Yelka Kamara – food
Rene McLean – horns
Sahr Nguajah -voice
Lil Phillips – voice
Sunkari Suso  — food
Salieu Suso – kora
Sponsored by
NYSCA, NEH, and The Melissa and Ritchie Post Foundation

POSTPONED!!! City Lore Storytelling Cafe: Migration Stories with the Muslim Writers Collective

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT IS POSTPONED UNTIL 2018.

WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

City Lore, in collaboration with the Muslim Writers Collective, presents the City Lore Storytelling Cafe: Migration Stories with the Muslim Writers Collective.

 

So much of the national conversation around immigration is driven by academics and policy analysts and is far removed from actual immigrants. Migration Stories aims to change the discourse around policy affecting refugee and immigrants by actually centering their stories, experiences, and expertise. Five featured Muslim storytellers will share their experiences of migration with a diverse audience made of up members from the Muslim Writers Collective NYC chapter, policymakers, immigration service organizations, academics, and general audiences. It will be followed by a conversation with the storytellers, moderated by Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The event marks the inaugural event in City Lore’s series City Lore Storytelling Café, where stories are told over a curated menu by City Lore friend and local chef Shash Blount. The program is created in partnership with the Muslim Writers Collective, a national grassroots storytelling movement. The Collective has eight chapters across the country and hosts regular open mics that feature hundreds of first time performers, including poets, journalists, comedians, and musicians.

Puerto Rico Benefit: screening of “We Like It Like That”

 

City Lore is delighted to present a screening of director Mathew Ramirez Warren’s film, We Like It Like That, in an effort to raise funds for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief through the Jazz Foundation of America.
We Like it Like That tells the story of Latin boogaloo, a colorful expression of 1960s Latino Soul, straight from the streets of New York City.

Join us afterwards for a reception including:
Q&A with musicians Benny Bonilla, Joe Quijano, and others
Light refreshments and drinks
Music from DJ Turmix

$40 – Screening and reception
$25 – Reception only

For Tickets: CLICK HERE

DONATIONS WELCOME
All proceeds go to Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief!!!

 

Botnik versus the Romantics

The Poetry of Everyday Life Blog Post #7

CAN A NEW APP HELP YOU WRITE LIKE A ROMANTIC POET?

By Bob Holman and Steve Zeitlin

John Keats might have called the computer “a thing of beauty.” Or perhaps “an unravish’d bride of quietness.” Coleridge’s question “Is very life by consciousness unbounded?” could just as aptly apply to the computer.

What Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats did with pen and paper is still accessible 200 years later. But can our new computers help us write in the style of the Romantics? Can the zeros and ones of digital technologies collaborate with us to write poetry? Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of Esquire, says Yes.

Along with Jamie Brew of the Onion’s satirical website the ClickHole, he founded the app company Botnik, which is “very semi-seriously” looking into this question. Its new app Predictive Writer can harness the vocabularies of Seinfeld episodes, recipes, Bob Dylan, country music, and more to create playful word games that enable you to write in different styles. When you go to the Predictive Writer app, you can select from a number of idiom-specific “keyboards” that the Botnik community has uploaded: Seinfeld season 3, cooking recipes, Savage Love (a syndicated sex-advice column), and the Romantic poets that we ourselves suggested to them. Say you want to write a poem in the style of Keats. You choose the Keats option, enter a word or two into the app, click on the eighteen choices they offer for the next word à la Keats, and on it goes. Try it at apps.botnik.org/writer/. But why, pray tell, would anyone want to do this?

 

Bob Mankoff: Former New Yorker Cartoon Editor, Present Cartoon and Humor Editor of Esquire. Rejected Chairman of The Federal Reserve

MANKOFF

Why

Why do some people surf? Certainly not just to get from the water to the beach. Why fall down ten times in the process? Because you want to ride the wave! It’s fun to see if you can surf this chaos of information that is coming at us from all directions, all the time.

 

 

 

 

Bob Holman, poet, founder of of Bowery Poetry Club, frenetic Romantic (image from the New York Times’s “Poetry Pantheon”)

 

HOLMAN

Predictive Writer may be great for writing a meta-Seinfeld, but now Zeitlin wants to challenge the app to a poetry writing episode—a Romantic poem, to be specific—and wants me to be the first poet in history to take a plunge into the ice-cold computer waters and generate a poem with this app. I mean, after all, Seinfeld is famous for being about Nothing, right? Predictive Writer is right there, pure vocabulary. Or you can spice it up by adding some octopus-pancake-recipe language from a different part of the app.

 

 

 

Steve Zeitlin, folklorist, Poetry of Everyday Life blogger, Ping-pong player (image of Zeitlin’s avatar, painted by Brazilian street artist Deçio Fereira)

ZEITLIN

We can’t begin to surmise what the Romantics might have made of computers, let alone Botnik’s app. According to Mankoff, it would be akin to asking a fourteenth-century monk what he thinks of Monty Python. (Wait a minute, wasn’t there a fourteenth-century monk in Monty Python?)

 

 

 

 

 

HOLMAN

I’ve never been one to shy away from inspiration. Poems make imagination real (don’t forget that).

Some topics of my earliest poems include George Washington following Indian trails (my first poem, age nine), the big natural bump on my foot (first poem for Kenneth Koch, my teacher at Columbia, age nineteen), and Life itself as a Poem (Life Poem, a book-length poem, written when I was twenty-one, will be published by the Operating System in 2018). As I’ve aged, I’ve found inspiration in other poets, Baraka and O’Hara and Stein et al. If I were stuck, I’d just open Kyger and there’d be the word, waiting.

Then came the computer. The “word processor,” as we first called it, taking a Cuisinart to the dictionary. Tzara and Burroughs used scissors for their cut-ups; we just highlight, hit control+C (Ted Berrigan’s zine?), go to exact point in the poem where we want the text, and hit control+V (Pynchon?) and drop it, you know, wherever.

Which brings us to Botnik and the wonders/horrors of its Predictive Writer software. It’s like the suggestions your smartphone makes, except instead of being drawn from domain of general English, they come from the lyrics of Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, or Romantic poetry. One is expected to just “feel” or randomly strike a letter or two, no thought needed, and then select a word from a grid of up to eighteen choices, insert, and keep going.

MANKOFF

Hey, other Bob (to whom I’m the other Bob): you don’t have it quite right. The process of creating sentences from a specific source with Predictive Writer—whether the source is a poem or anything else—is anything but random. They are the most likely next words from that vocabulary, given the ones you selected. We’re still in the process of developing the app to make it more intelligent in terms of knowing which parts of speech are permitted, as well as layering on more rules of syntax. But the more intelligent it becomes, the more intelligence it will require from humans to turn linguistic anarchy into poetry.

 

Screenshot of Botnik’s Predictive Writer app

HOLMAN

But, other-other Bob, to come up with anything resembling a Romantic poem, I would need to write not just according to syntax, but also rhyme and meter. So when I found myself stymied by Predictive Writer’s limitations, I resorted to old faithful print rhyming dictionaries (though I could have used one of the many rhyming sites on the Net).

Once I got over my pique, I settled in, using all the tools available—digital, print, or muse—following the predictives to lines on love for Keats and Shelley, using forms and meters familiar to each, with some shadows of larger issues floating like a cloud. (I went with “azure-lidded” regardless. Couldn’t resist.)

ZEITLIN

I shared this essay with the writer Caitlin Van Dusen for her comments, and when she got back to me and I started to reply on my iPhone, the predictive writer on the phone suggested that I write “Thanks for the feedback” or “Awesome, thanks!” How long before the phones can predict our questions as well as our responses?

Botnik’s Predictive Writer is playful, only “semi-serious”—I know that—but it raises some provocative questions about where all this is going. Beyond the storage of information, search engines such as Google and the other ubiquitous apps of our times are so integral to our lives that it is fair to consider them extensions of our brains, expanding our access to knowledge beyond that of any genius who ever lived. But where does the computer end and “I” begin? And think how much more difficult it would be to tell the two apart if a computer chip were installed in each person’s brain—something that anyone with half a brain can see coming.

A computer can take you (virtually) anywhere you want to go, tell you anything you want to know, or, as in the case of this app, access vast databases of language—but a poem you write yourself illuminates who you are. Do we forego our limitations, the way our minds mold and hold memory, when we express ourselves through poems that are wholly or partially computer-generated? Are we the last generation to experience a distinctive, genuine personhood as future generations increasingly integrate their brains with computer programs? Are we the last generation that believes creativity springs eternally from the human breast?

HOLMAN

My writing was well under way—I was creating Romantic poems with the vocabulary of Shelley and Keats—when Steve lay a content demand on me: your Romantic poem, he opined, wants to mirror the consciousness shift you are using and talking about. From pen and paper to the digital world? Whaaaaa?!!

That would have to be Coleridge. But this time, I dictated the poem using Predictive Writer the way I used to use the books of Ashbery—as in: now I need an Ashbery word, now a Hopkins word (“dapple-dawn-drawn”). So when I wanted predictive, I took it; otherwise, folks, the vocabulary is that of the Coleridge I know, not the limited choices available on the current early iteration of the app.

I ended up with twelve lines. I figured if I was this close to a sonnet, why not just close it off with a couplet? But for the final two lines, I’d let Predictive Writer pick the words.

THE ROMANTICS VIA BOTNIK ASSISTED BY HOLMAN

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 –1834)

 

ZEITLIN

So Bob did “Bobnik” the poem—and whether the results sound more like Coleridge than Holman, you decide.

But perhaps it’s a bit futile to ask the vocabulary of the Romantics to comment on a digital world they couldn’t possibly conceive of, because, for starters, they simply didn’t have the words for it.

In the movement to revitalize the Hawaiian language in the early twentieth century, a Hawaiian word was needed for “computer.” There were three schools of thought on how to find one: first, go to the elders, who have lived the language; second, go to the linguists, who knew the history of the Hawaiian language; and third, go to the street, where the approach is to take an English word and make it sound Hawaiian.

The issue was ingeniously resolved. The Hawaiians had electricity—and they had the word “brain.” So the elders coined a marvelous term for “computer”: the “electric brain.” What are we to make of poetry composed in part or in full by an electric brain? Certainly it’s better than the electric chair, but is it limiting or furthering our humanity?

HOLMAN’S ENDING

And what better place to round off the Romantics’ sonnet than with Seinfeld, season 3, “Kramer”?

Go n sweeper george fruit greatest jerry stub
Forever lid bother elaine’s martinizing club

ZEITLIN’S ENDING

Lord Byron: All farewells should be sudden.  Force quit.

 

 

“By showing us that poetry lives everywhere,” writes Bob Holman in the preface to Zeitlin’s new book, The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness, “Steve seems to make the whole world into a poem, with all of us collaborating daily in the writing of it.” If you like the blog, you’ll love the book. Click here to purchase.

Please email your thoughts, stories and responses about the poetic side of life to steve@citylore.org. This monthly post continues to tap into the poetic side of what we often take for granted: the stories we tell, the people we love, the metaphors used by scientists, even our sex lives. I chronicle the poetic moments in life and also look at how we all use poetry in our daily lives. I am a folklorist, and I want to hear from you—because that’s where all the best material comes from. For more information about The Poetry of Everyday Life published by Cornell click here.

 

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity

in association with City Lore

presents

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity

Written by Ping Chong and Sara Zatz, with Ryan Conarro
Directed by Ping Chong

in collaboration with the performers: Tiffany Yasmin Abdelghani, Ferdous Dehqan, Kadin Herring, Amir Khafagy, Maha Syed

Stage Manager, Kristina Varshavskaya

Executive Director, Ping Chong + Company, Bruce Allardice

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity is an interview-based theatre production by Ping Chong + Company exploring the diverse experiences of young Muslim New Yorkers. The five participants in Beyond Sacred vary in many ways, but share the common experience of coming of age in a post-9/11 New York City, at a time of increasing Islamophobia. Participants come from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and include men and women that reflect a wide range of Muslim identities, including those who have converted to Islam, those who were raised Muslim, but have since left the faith, those who identify as “secular” or “culturally” Muslim, and those who are observant on a daily basis. The goal of Beyond Sacred is to illuminate daily experiences of Muslim New Yorkers, and work towards greater communication and understanding among Muslim and non-Muslim communities in NYC. The performance will be followed by a conversation and Q&A with the cast members and artistic team.

Tickets are $15 each. Please reserve your seat HERE.

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity is part of an ongoing series of community-specific oral history theater works known as the Undesirable Elements series. Begun in 1992 by Ping Chong + Company, each production is made in a specific community, with local participants testifying to their real lives and experiences. The script is based on interviews with the participants who then share their own true stories in the final production. Since 1992, over 50 productions have been made across the United States and abroad. Recent productions have explored themes as far ranging as the disability experience, Native American identity, the experiences of refugees in the U.S., and the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse. Ping Chong + Company has created documentaries, toolkits, training workshops, and arts education programs for communities who wish to use the arts to address social justice issues in their own work.

Beyond Sacred was commissioned by LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, where it premiered in April 2015. The premiere production was made possible by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement Grants Program, which is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

 

 

[ G A T E S ]: A Poetry Chapbook Launch Party & Reading

Poet Sahar Muradi launches [ G A T E S ], her new chapbook out from Black Lawrence Press, with a reading and celebration.
Sahar will be joined by friends: musician Yusuf Misdaq and writers Svetlano Kitto and Maria Gregorio. There will be Afghan snacks and poetry projections!

 

These charged, elliptical poems make space for the unknown and unknowable, even as they vividly summon the tangible body of the world. Shot through with sudden glimpses of violence and beauty, Sahar Muradi’s poems refuse us comfort or closure. They offer only what is—yet, paradoxically, haunt us with the sense that we’re standing on holy ground.

—Joan Larkin, author of MY BODY: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS

 

Sahar Muradi is a writer, performer, and educator born in Afghanistan and raised in the U.S. / is author of the forthcoming chapbook [ G A T E S ] / is co-editor, with Zohra Saed, of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature / is co-founder of the Afghan American Artists and Writers Association / has published most recently in Brooklyn Rail and Dusie / is the recipient of the 2016 Stacy Doris Memorial Prize and twice recipient of the Himan Brown Creative Writing Award in Poetry / is a Kundiman Poetry Fellow and an AAWW Open City Fellow / has an MFA in poetry from Brooklyn College, an MPA in international development from NYU, and a BA in creative writing from Hampshire College / directs the poetry programs at City Lore / and dearly believes in the bottom of the rice pot.

 

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