Thursday, June 7, 2007

Poets in the Galleries: Writers Respond to Generation 1.5

Poets in the Galleries: Writers Respond to Generation 1.5 is a series of six events that utilizes the galleries as invigorating sites of exploration, investigation and interactive readings and discussions. Lively presentations and provocative intellectual and artistic exchanges will allow audiences new ways of accessing the resources of the museum, while simultaneously presenting visitors with various inroads into the exhibitions’ offerings. The Generation 1.5 exhibition lends itself especially well to the pilot version of Poets in the Galleries. This exhibit allows a wonderful springboard for the exchanges of ideas related to immigrant experiences, with the participation of distinguished voices on the national and international literary scene.

This Poets in the Galleries series is being organized by Prerana Reddy, the Director of Public Events at the Queens Museum and guest curated by Amir Parsa who is involved in education programs at QMA and is also a Lecturer at MoMA and at the Met. Mr. Parsa is himself a poet who was born in Iran, educated in France, and now lives in New York and will kick of the series on July 1st. Poets in the Galleries is meant to develop synergy between visual and literary arts, as well as provide various entry points for people to engage with the artwork and theme of bi- or pluri-cultural identity.

The Poets in the Galleries events will take place on select Saturdays in the summer and fall of ’07. There will be a cocktail hour at 5:30pm, followed by an hour or so of the interactive tour/reading. The writers involved are not necessarily 1.5’ers themselves, but have all experienced immigration in various ways, and beyond being accomplished authors are also engaging speakers. Each participating poet has been asked not only to read his or her own work, but to actively engage with art works from the exhibit in which ever way they choose as well as to engage with the attendees to create a truly interactive experience. A small publication for the series will be created, in which each of the poets will be given a space in which to present a sample of writing that addresses the themes of Generation1.5 and that will be available to gallery visitors along with general exhibition guide. Each poet will also be participating in the blog, submitting entries in the order of their readings with the first posted at the end of July. Stay tuned!

Poets in the Galleries Event Schedule

July 7th

Amir Parsa was born in Tehran in 1968 and grew up in Iran and the U.S. while attending French international schools. He is the author of Kobolierrot, Tractatüus Philosophiká-Poeticüus, the multilingual L’opéra minora, and Feu L’encre – Fable, among other works. In 2006, Editions Caractères in Paris published his three ‘atomic’ books Dîvân, Sil & anses and Erre, while Drive-by Cannibalism in the Baroque Tradition was published by Non Serviam Press in New York. His literary oeuvre – written in English, French and Persian – constitutes a radical polyphonic enterprise that puts into question national, cultural and aesthetic attachments while fashioning new genres, forms and even species of literary artifacts. His work has garnered the attention of critics and scholars both in the U.S. and Europe, and he was included in the anthology of new French and Francophone poets (Ed. Huguet 2004). Mr. Parsa holds degrees from Princeton and Columbia universities and currently lives in New York, where he is a Lecturer and Educator at The Museum of Modern Art and at the Met.

July 21st

Mónica de la Torre. Monica is author of Talk Shows (Switchback Books, 2007) and Acúfenos, a collection of poems in Spanish published recently in Mexico City by Taller Ditoria. She is co-author of the artist book Appendices, Illustrations & Notes and translator and editor of a volume of selected poems by Gerardo Deniz, one of Mexico’s leading exponents of Neo-Baroque writing. She co-edited the anthology Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry with Michael Wiegers (Copper Canyon Press, 2002) and is the poetry editor of The Brooklyn Rail. She is working on a doctoral dissertation on poetry movements of the 70s in Latin America.

August 18th

Sarah Husain was born in New York City and grew up in Hong Kong, Sudan and Pakistan. She is the editor of an anthology titled, Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War Faith and Sexuality. Her written and performance poetry is concerned with memory, nation, violence, cancer, (bio)terrorism and the female body. She is working on a collection of poetry on cancer and the affects of our metastatic environment. She is also currently creating a series of performance pieces titled “Invented Happiness: my body in a time of war and hunger.”

September 22nd

Luis H. Francia left his native Philippines at the age of 22 and now lives in New York City. Francia is the author of the semiautobiographical Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago, honored with the 2002 PEN Center Open Book and the 2002 Asian American Writers literary awards. A winner of the Palanca Poetry Prize, one of the Philippines’ most prestigious literary honors, Francia has two earlier books of poems--Her Beauty Likes Me Well (with David Friedman) and The Arctic Archipelago and Other Poems, as well as a collection of reviews and essays, Memories of Overdevelopment. He edited Brown River, White Ocean: A Twentieth Century Anthology of Philippine Literature in English; as well as Flippin’: Filipinos on America, with Eric Gamalinda as coeditor; and, along with Angel Velasco Shaw, Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999. He writes for The Village Voice and The Nation, and, in Manila, for The Sunday Inquirer Magazine as well as teaches at New York University.

September 29th

Roger Bonair-Agard. Mr. Bonair-Agard weaves living, breathing tapestries out of politics and the notion of home; a native of Trinidad and Tobago, Roger has lived in Brooklyn for seventeen years and his work reflects the struggles of a man in voluntary exile in a conflicted 21st-century America. He is co-author of Burning Down the House (Soft Skull Press, 2000), and author of tarnish and masquerade (Cypher Press, 2006). He also co-founded the louderARTS Project (of which he is also Artistic Director), an organization dedicated to the evolution of poetry through the craft of writing and performance. Roger is also a Cave Canem fellow, studying with such luminaries as Yusef Komunyakaa, Marilyn Nelson, and Cornelius Eady. In 1998, he was named the Nuyorican Poets Café Fresh Poet of the Year. That same year, he coached the Nuyorican team to victory in the National Poetry Slam. The following year he earned the title of National Individual Slam Champion while leading and coaching the New York City louderARTS team to the final four of the National Poetry Slam, a feat he repeated in 2000. Roger's work has been widely anthologized, and has been commissioned extensively through the multi-disciplinary performance troupe VisionIntoArt. He has also authored a successful one-man show, and chaos congealed (1998) and the acclaimed one-man poetry concert MASQUERADE: poems of calypso and home.

October 13th

Julio Marzán, Queens' newest Poet Laureate, is a native of Puerto Rico who came to New York when he was four months old. he is an Associate Professor of English at S.U.N.Y./Nassau Community College and has published two books of poetry, Translations Without Originals , and Puerta De Tierra, as well as his translation Selected Poems: Luis Palés Matos. His poems appear in a few college texts, among them the last three editions of the Bedford Introduction to Literature, in both hard and concise editions. In 2005, the University of Wisconsin Press published his novel The Bonjour Gene. He is also the author of the ground-breaking The Spanish American Roots of William Carlos Williams (U. Texas). His poems have appeared in Parnassus, Massachusetts Review, Tin House, New Letters, and Harper's Magazine.

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