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Poetic Duels: Sheyr Jangi

July 18, 2018 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

| Free

 Join us for a reading featuring poetry by Marwa Helal, Haleh Liza, Jess Rizkallah, and Adeeba Shahid Talukder, followed by a poetic game. “Sheyr Jangi,” poetry fighting, is the Afghan version of the poetic duel. Tonight we pay homage to this tradition—but with a twist. We have curated a “deck” of poems by classical and contemporary poets writing in Arabic, Persian, Turkic, and Urdu. The featured poets and audience will be invited to battle these literary ancestors!

This program, curated by Zohra Saed and Sahar Muradi, is part of City Lore’s Summer Educators Institute A Reverence for Words: Understanding Muslim Cultures Through the Arts, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and part of Ping Chong + Company‘s Beyond Sacred National Initiative, supported bu the Building Bridges Program, the grant-making arm of The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

Featured Poets


Marwa Helal is a poet and journalist. Her work appears in Apogee, Hyperallergic, Poets & Writers and elsewhere. She is the author of I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press, 2017) and Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019). Helal is the winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest and has been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and Cave Canem. She has presented her work at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Studio Museum in Harlem and Brooklyn Museum. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, Helal currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Haleh Liza Gafori is a vocalist, poet, and translator, born in NYC, of Iranian descent. Her poems have been published by Columbia University Press and Rattapallax Press. As a vocalist, she enjoys singing in Persian, English, and Spanish, and has performed at various venues including Lincoln Center, WorldFest, the Bonnaroo Festival, and Carnegie Hall.  Haleh is currently translating a series of ghazals by the Persian mystical poet Rumi, and composing a body of poems in response. She lives in Brooklyn, where she writes, performs, teaches, and facilitates circles where people gather to explore, discuss, and sing select poems and songs. Haleh received her MFA in Poetry from CCNY, and her BS in Biological Sciences from Stanford University.


Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a Pakistani American poet, translator, and singer. She translates Urdu and Persian poetry, and cannot help but bring elements from these worlds to her own work in English. She is the author of What Is Not Beautiful (Glass Poetry Press, 2018). Her book Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved, forthcoming through Tupelo Press, is a winner of the Kundiman Prize. A Best of the Net finalist and a Pushcart nominee, Adeeba holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and is a Poets House 2017 Emerging Poets Fellow.


Jess Rizkallah is a Lebanese-American writer from Massachusetts. She has an MFA in Poetry from NYU & is founding editor at Maps For Teeth magazine and pizza pi press. Her collection THE MAGIC MY BODY BECOMES won the 2017 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize as awarded by the Radius of Arab-American Writers and University of Arkansas Press. Find her at jessrizkallah.com.


July 18, 2018
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Event Category:


City Lore
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New York, 10003 United States
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