Poetry From the Muslim World

Illuminated Verses Programs

Continuing the exploration of poetic traditions from around the globe,
City Lore and Poets House, in cooperation with the Asia Society, present

Illuminated Verses: Poetries of the Islamic World

Saturday, March 19, 2:00 pm
Introduction to the Language of the Qur’an
A Seminar with Bruce Lawrence
Duke University professor Bruce Lawrence offers an introduction to the poetic style and aural beauty of the Qur’an and discusses the challenge of translating archaic Arabic into modern-day English.
Location: Poets House, 10 River Terrace.
Admission: $10, $7 for students and seniors, free to City Lore Members and Poets House Members

Thursday, April 21, 6:30 pm
A Prince’s Manuscript Unbound: Selections from the Shahnamah
Director of the Tehran Theater Workshop Iraj Anvar performs selections of the Shahnamah, a sweeping epic poem composed by Ferdowsi, Persia’s greatest poet of the 10th and 11th centuries. This event is held in conjunction with the Asia Society’s exhibition of illuminated miniatures, “A Prince’s Manuscript Unbound: Muhammad Juki’s Shahnamah.”
Location: The Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue @70th St.
Admission: $10 members, $12 students/seniors, $15 non members
 
Tuesday, April 26, 7:00 pm
Transmutations with Moroccan Poet Mohammed Bennis
Born in 1948 in Fez, Morocco, internationally acclaimed poet and professor of Arabic poetry Mohammed Bennis reads from his work and discusses his life in poetry.
Location: Poets House, 10 River Terrace.
Admission: $10, $7 students/seniors, free to City Lore Members and Poets House Members

Thursday, April 28, 7:00 pm
The Traveling Word: A West African Epic
Joined by West African jali musicians, Kewulay Finah Kamara discusses, performs and screens segments from his documentary about his attempt to recreate an ancient oral epic after the only written copy was destroyed in Sierra Leone’s recent Civil War.
Location: Poets House, 10 River Terrace.
Admission: $10, $7 students/seniors, free to City Lore Members and Poets House Members

Saturday, April 30, 4:30 pm
Modern Poetry of Pakistan
Hasina Gul, a poet and broadcaster joins Waqas Khwaja, translation editor of the anthology Modern Poetry of Pakistan, for a discussion of Pakistani poetry, including the challenges and pleasures of translating from the original for English–language. Gul will also read a selection of her poetry.
Location: The Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue @70th St.
Admission:$15, $12 students/seniors, $10 members

Saturday, April 30, 8:00 pm
Mushaira: Celebrating Urdu Poetry
Celebrated poets from Pakistan recreate an intimate atmosphere of mushaira, a traditional gathering of poets who read or recite their work. English translation will be provided at the beginning of the program, followed by performances in Urdu.
Location: The Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue @70th St
Admission: $30, $25 students/seniors, $20 members

Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 pm
Precarious Lives: Arab Poets since Pre–Islamic Times
A Seminar with Muhsin al–Musawi
Often exiled or sold into slavery in ancient times, Arab–language poets have literally suffered for their art. Noted literary scholar Muhsin al–Musawi explores the dramatic biographies of poets writing in Arabic throughout history.
Location: Poets House, 10 River Terrace.
Admission: $10, $7 students/seniors, free to City Lore Members and Poets House Members

Thursday, May 5, 7:00 pm
From Tablet to Pen: The Literary History of Islam
A Seminar with Reza Aslan
Internationally–acclaimed writer and scholar of religions. Reza Aslan gives an overview of the history of Islam and the different languages and poetic traditions in the Islamic world.
Location: Poets House, 10 River Terrace.
Admission: $10, $7 students/seniors, free to City Lore Members and Poets House Members

Join us for a day of Panels, Discussions, & Performances

Bridging Cultures: a Day-Long Conference and Celebration

Saturday, May 7, 9am – 10pm

9:00 am to 6:15 pm
Bridging Cultures Conference
A series of panels on themes including the Arabic Golden Age; the Sufi tradition and lyric poetry in the Middle East and Persia; poetry and the “theater of violence”; the Urdu tradition from Mughal courts to modern Pakistan; 20th century literary revivals in North Africa; poetry and nation building; the relation between early forms of the blues and the Islamic call to prayer.

Participating Scholars and Poets
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.

8:00pm to 10:00pm
Verses Illuminated: A Celebratory Reading and Performance
A multi-artist celebration of the poetic forms of the Islamic world featuring readings by participating poets and performances by Lebanese poetry duelists, the Iraqi group Safaafir singing songs from the cafes of Baghdad, vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia performing classical and contemporary ghazals, Rumi singer Amir Vahab, and much more.

Location: BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center – 199 Chambers Street
Admission: Free

Funded by the Bridging Cultures Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Because democracy demands wisdom. With additional funding from the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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