Bridging Cultures: Poetic Voices of the Muslim World

Bridging Cultures: Poetic Voices of the Muslim World examines the central role of poetry in the everyday lives of Muslim men and women around the globe. It taps into poetry's ability to create indelible images, extend the reach of language, and to express complex ideas and feelings though metaphor, making it a powerful force for illuminating cultural experiences. The many forms of poetry of the Muslim World provide the language of one’s beloved, tell the stories of epic heroes, honor the departed, celebrate marriage, express the insights of the moment or speak to God and, often, shape a way of life. The project consists of three mutually reinforcing components: 1) a series of public talks, discussions and poetry readings, many enlivened by music and dance performances that will help audiences experience first-hand the rich music and profound poetic traditions of these centuries-old cultures; 2) a lushly-illustrated, colorful and vibrant exhibit featuring arresting photography and calligraphic text, as well as the work of poets such as Rumi (the best-selling poet in America), Adonis and Hafiz traveling to in six cities across the United States accompanying the exhibit; and 3) a rich, poem-filled website. Developed by Poets House and City Lore, Poetic Voices of the Muslim World highlights the poetic traditions from four major language areas — Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu — and introduces poetry from Asia, Africa and diaspora communities in the United States, providing new ways for Americans to discover how poetry plays a central role in the intellectual, spiritual, social and political aspects of these cultures. In partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), Poets House and City Lore Bridging Cultures: Poetic Voices of the Muslim World will travel to public libraries in various cities across the United States: Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Houston, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida; Los Angeles, and San Francisco, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the Borough of Queens in New York, New York; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, D.C. These libraries have been selected based upon geographical distribution, the size and significance of the city’s Muslim population, and the library system’s commitment to this project. Poets House will also convene scholars to explore the humanities themes of this project. This project is the result of an NEH Bridging Cultures Planning grant received in 2010 to produce Illuminated Verses: Poetries of the Islamic World, which City Lore and Poets House produced in conjunction with the Asia Society and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Presentations will include:

Spring 2015

St Louis Public Library Song of the Reed: Rumi with Dr. Jawid Mojadeddi and Amir Vahab & his ensemble Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 6:30pm Central Library Auditorium, 1310 Olive Street, St Louis The History and Poetics of the Qur’an with Dr. Bruce Lawrence and Qur’anic chanters Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 7:00pm Carpenter Branch Library, 3309 S Grand Blvd., St Louis Veils and Words: Iranian Women Poets of the 20th Century with Dr. Farzaneh Milani Thursday, May 14, 2015, 7:00pm Schlafly Branch Library, 225 North Euclid Avenue, St Louis Islam and The Blues with Dr. Sylviane Diouf Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 6:30pm Central Library Auditorium, 1310 Olive Street, St Louis San Francisco Public Library Poetry Reading and talk with poet Persis Karim Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 6:30pm Latino Hispanic Community Room Main Library (Lower Level), 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco Islam and The Blues with Dr. Sylviane Diouf Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 6:30pm Latino Hispanic Community Room Main Library (Lower Level), 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco Syrian-American Hip-Hop & Spoken Word artist Omar Offendum Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 6:30pm Latino Hispanic Community Room Main Library (Lower Level), 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco The Thousand and One Nights with Dr. Sinan Antoon Thursday, April 16, 2015, 6:30pm Arab Cultural and Community Center, 2 Plaza Street, San Francisco

Fall 2015

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Programs to be announced Houston Public Library Programs to be announced These programs will be supplemented by events featuring local performers and presenters at each library

PAST PROGRAMS

Spring 2014

Detroit Public Library Words of Praise: the Qasida with Dr. Michael Sells and Amir ElSaffar with the ensemble Safaafir Saturday, March 15, 2014, 1:00pm Detroit Public Library (Central), 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit MI Islam and The Blues with Dr. Sylviane Diouf Saturday, April 12, 2014, 1:00pm Detroit Public Library (Central), 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit MI Song of the Reed: Rumi with Dr. Jawid Mojadeddi and Amir Vahab and his ensemble Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 6:00pm Detroit Public Library (Central), 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI Syrian-American Hip-Hop & Spoken Word artist Omar Offendum Friday, May 30, 2014, 6:00pm Detroit Public Library (Central), 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI in collaboration with the Arab American National Museum Queens Library Poetic Voices of the Muslim World Exhibit Opening Wednesday, March 05, 2014, 6:00-8:00pm Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY Islam and The Blues with Dr. Sylviane Diouf Saturday, April 5, 2pm Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY The Worlds of the Ghazal with Syed Akbar Hyder and ghazal singer Kiran Ahluwalia Saturday, April 26, 2014, 1:30 pm Flushing Library, 41-17 Main St. Flushing, NY Love Speaks: A Day of Art and Poetry from the Muslim World Sunday, May 12, 2013, 1:00-4:30pm The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave, New York NY Song of the Reed: Rumi with Dr. Jawid Mojadeddi and Amir Vahab and his ensemble Saturday, May 17, 2014, 5:00 pm Flushing Library, 41-17 Main St. Flushing, NY E-mails from Scheherazad: Poetry Reading and talk with poet Mohja Kahf Saturday, May 31, 2014, 3pm Jackson Heights Library, 35-51 81st Street, Jackson Heights, NY

Fall 2013

DC Public Library Veils and Words: Iranian Women Poets of the 20th Century with Dr. Farzaneh Milani Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 7:00pm Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (Central) Library 901 G St NW, Washington, DC Understanding Turkish Cultures through Poetry: From Sufism to Postmodernism with Dr. Kemal Silay Monday, October 7, 2013, 7:00pm Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (Central) Library 901 G St NW, Washington, DC Song of the Reed: Rumi with Dr. Jawid Mojadeddi and Amir Vahab & his Ensemble Wednesday October 23, 2012, 7:00pm Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Neighborhood Library 1630 7th St. NW, Washington, DC Islam and The Blues with Dr. Sylviane Diouf Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 7:00pm Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (Central) Library 901 G St NW, Washington, DC The Worlds of the Ghazal with Syed Akbar Hyder and Kiran Ahluwalia Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 7:00pm Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (Central) Library 901 G St NW, Washington, DC Milwaukee Public Library Song of the Reed: Rumi with Dr. Jawid Mojadeddi and Amir Vahab & his Ensemble Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 6:30pm Central Library, Centennial Hall 733 N. Eighth Street, Milwaukee The Worlds of the Ghazal with Syed Akbar Hyder and Kiran Ahluwalia Sunday, October 6, 2013, 2:00pm Central Library, Centennial Hall 733 N. Eighth Street, Milwaukee Islam and The Blues with Dr. Sylviane Diouf Sunday, November 03, 2013, 1:00pm Marquette University’s Varsity Theater 1326 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee Yemeni Women’s Poetic Traditions with Dr. Najwa Adra Sunday, November 17, 2013, 2:00pm Central Library, Centennial Hall 733 N. Eighth Street, Milwaukee

Spring 2013

Jacksonville Public Library Islam and The Blues with Dr. Sylviane Diouf Saturday, March 02, 2013, 7 pm Adam W. Herbert University Center, Grand Ballroom University of North Florida, 12000 Alumni Drive, Jacksonville Words of Praise: the Qasida with Dr. Michael Sells and Amir ElSaffar & Safaafir Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 7 pm Jacksonville Public Library (Main Library), Hicks Auditorium, Conference Center Level 303 N Laura St, Jacksonville The Worlds of the Ghazal with Syed Akbar Hyder and Kiran Ahluwalia Saturday, April 06, 2013, 7 pm Talon Room, Osprey Commons, Building 16, 4th Floor University of North Florida, 1 University of North Florida Drive, Jacksonville Song of the Reed: Rumi with Dr. Jawid Mojadeddi and Amir Vahab & his ensemble Wednesday, May 29, 2012, 7 pm Adam W. Herbert University Center, Grand Ballroom University of North Florida, 12000 Alumni Drive, Jacksonville
Los Angeles Public Library Song of the Reed: Rumi with Dr. Jawid Mojaddedi and Amir Vahab & his ensemble Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 6:30pm Los Angeles Public Library, Westwood Branch, 1246 Glendon Ave, Los Angeles Lecture & Reading by poet Persis Karim Saturday, April 06, 2013, 2pm Los Angeles Public Library, Westwood Branch, 1246 Glendon Ave, Los Angeles Poetry from Anatolia: the Ottoman Lyric and the Turkish Folk Song with Dr. Kemal Silay Saturday, April 13, 2013, 2pm Los Angeles Public Library (Central Library) 630 W 5th St, Los Angeles Words of Praise: the Qasida with Dr. Michael Sells and Zafer Tawil & his Ensemble Saturday, May 18, 2013m, 2pm Los Angeles Public Library (Central Library) 630 W 5th St, Los Angeles For more information, visit the Poetic Voices of the Muslim World website. Presented by Poets House and City Lore, in partnership with the American Library Association. It is funded by the Bridging Cultures Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art