Illuminated Verses: Poetries of the Islamic World

Sponsored by the NEH’s Bridging Cultures Initiative, Illuminated Verses: Poetries of the Islamic World was a series of talks, readings, panels and symposia held in the spring of 2011 in New York City and curated by City Lore and Poets House in collaboration with the Asia Society. The multidisciplinary series brought together poets, scholars and artists. It culminated with an all-day symposium on May 7th at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.  Participating Scholars and Poets included Najwa Adra, Ammiel Alcalay, Kazim Ali, Reza Aslan, Kaveh Bassiri, Clarissa Burt, Steve Caton, Sylviane Diouf, Syed Akbar Hyder, Pierre Joris, Persis Karim, Khaled Mattawa, Jawid Mojaddedi, Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, Stefania Pandolfo, Frances W. Pritchett, Michael Sells, Mahwash Shoaib, and Suzanne Stetkevych.  Nearly 2,000 people attended these events. Learn More

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World

A national initiative in 2013 and 2014, Poetic Voices of the Muslim World utilizes scholarly interpretation and performance of contemporary oral and literary Muslim poetry traditions to increase understanding of Muslim cultures. This project consists of three mutually reinforcing components that together will deepen understanding of the cultures of the Islamic world, via its poetries, in six cities across the United States. In partnership with public libraries across the country, Poetic Voices will present:

  • A series of programs presenting the varied poetic traditions of the Muslim world through the scholarly interpretation of the art;
  • An 18 panel traveling exhibit to introduce the project to library patrons, engage broad interest and illustrate key concepts;
  • A website to contextualize and further disseminate the project resources.

Learn More

Media from selected programs can be found by clicking the links below.

The schedule of Illuminated Verses programs

Essays on the Occasion of Illuminated Verses