DEC. 02, 2012 | 4 – Telling the Story of Our Family, Community, & Culture
Speaker: Elmaz Abinader | blog comments due on Saturday at midnight, Dec. 01
Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family.
We have the honor of having Elmaz Abinader speak this upcoming Sunday. Elmaz is an Arab American writer who cofounded VONA/Voices, a people of color writing workshop at UC Berkeley, has conducted many writing workshops in Palestine, a Fulbright Scholar to Egypt, winner of a PEN Award for her poetry collection, Country of My Dreams.
Especially in light of what’s happening in Gaza, I think our solidarity with Palestine and questions on how we can transmute our thoughts and political concerns into writing will be a great topic for discussion with Elmaz.
Here are the readings for Sunday:
This poem was included in the anthology, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here. More on the anthology:
Al-Mutanabbi Street is the centuries-old center of bookselling in Baghdad, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famed 10th Century classical Arab poet, Al- Mutanabbi, this street has been, since time immemorial, the historic heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.
On March 5, 2007, a car bomb was detonated on Al-Mutanabbi Street. At least thirty people were killed and one hundred wounded.
Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition was formed soon afterwards to commemorate not just the tragic loss of life, but also the idea of a targeted attack on a street where ideas have always been exchanged.
Also, in light of Gaza and instead of reading Santos, please watch this poem by Rafeef Ziadah, “We Teach Life, Sir.”
Finally, what are your first impressions? What emotive responses did these poems and creative nonfiction pieces relay to you? Further thoughts to think about:
1. How are poems and writing evidence? What ties these pieces together?
2. Danticat says: “Reading, like writing, […] is disobedience to a directive. […] Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I’ve always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.” What are your thoughts to this statement?
3. What makes these pieces transcend the topical subject of their writings? How do they transcend the angry, political, protest piece? What makes them universal? What makes them stand against time?
Last but not least: please fill out this form for a one-on-one workshop with me for your writings and the anthology.
Please submit your work by this Sunday, Dec. 2nd! The last time to submit will be on Dec. 2nd.
The real last thing: our final workshop will be at the Oakland Cultural Art Center, Dec. 16th, 2-4pm. I’ll pass out a sign-up sheet so that we can see who’s coming and eat at a restaurant either beforehand or after the workshop in downtown Oakland.