Poetic Voices of the Muslim World

This is a fabulous site and the whole project is excellent. Poets House & City Lore are to be congratulated for their pioneering work. I participated in the first installment here in New York 2 years ago with a talk on Maghrebi literature, & the occasion provided me with a  range of discoveries both in terms of Middle Eastern literature and in matters of translation.  This expanded nomadic version will now provide to those not in NYC with a major trove of work by & on Mashreqi, Farzi & some Maghrebi cultures and art.


Image: Samina Quraeshi; Design: Ralph Appelbaum Associates
Image: Samina Quraeshi; Design: Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World celebrates poetry of rare power and beauty and launches this weekend with a website (www.pvmw.org), exhibitions and performances in two cities.

A two-year initiative, Poetic Voices of the Muslim World includes a traveling exhibition, programs and performances being presented in the public libraries of six cities, beginning in Jacksonville, FL and Los Angeles, CA this week. The exhibit then moves to Washington, D.C. and Milwaukee, WI in fall 2013 and Detroit, MI and Queens, NY in 2014.

The lushly-illustrated, vibrant website features arresting photography and calligraphic masterworks, focusing on 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. Highlights include ancient oral traditions, literary forms that have flourished for more than a millennium and contemporary poetic arts.

The website and exhibition are complemented by in-depth programs at the participating libraries, ranging from Rumi: Song of the Reed to Words of Praise: the Qasida. Many of the presentations will be enlivened by music and dance performances. Poets House congratulates Jacksonville for its hugely successful presentation of the first program, Blues and the Muslim Call to Prayer — which drew an audience of over 250 — exploring how the blues, which originated in the American South, may have evolved from the techniques of the recitation of the Qur’an and the call to prayer in West Africa.

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World is co-sponsored by Poets House and City Lore and presented in partnership with the American Library Association. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the public libraries of Detroit, MI; Jacksonville, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Milwaukee, WI; Washington, D.C.; and Queens, NY, with additional support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

For more information visit the Poetic Voices of the Muslim World website at www.pvmw.org or the ‘Poetry at Large’ section of the Poets House website.

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