Special Series: Hyphenated Identity: An Evening of the Spoken Word with Lawrence Joseph and Hala Alyan
Tue, November 25, 2014 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts
This presentation of poetry by two Arab-American writers is somewhat contradictory, for it attempts to capture a particular ethos of the hyphenated identity through the poetic imagination of two very different writers, from different generations, with different experiences. On the face of it, it is an impossibility.
Lawrence Joseph's language exerts pressure, is tense and imbricated in the details of life. It is the raw material in its syntax, words and grammar of social, political or historical narrative. The sound of the language even in its depiction of landscapes resonates harrowingly. It calculatingly and deliberately resists performitivity and opts instead for interiority, the bewildered and melancholic cries of consciousness crafted into the crisp language and poise of an indignant, dignified and towering voice.
Hala Alyan's poetry is picturesque and spatial, cognizant of a painterly aesthetics of word arrangement, visually performative in its pace and gestures. Words are looked at from different angles and twisted reflections as to create the possibilities for alternative meanings, as in an ocular experience that is leafing through one image after the next, page after page, to grasp elegantly the representation of experience or feeling. Imageries are original, personal and intimate, yet vivified in fervent passion and clairvoyant focus.
Both however share the ubiquitous continuity of the immigrant, coming from somewhere else- "Lebanonized" as it were, to borrow from Lawrence Joseph. As such, they offer to the audience and reader each an individual voice that make them worthy of carrying the distinct ascription of a poet, sharing in an event that is not commodified by competition between voices, but rather by the edified realm of the "multitude of voices" that is the poetic expression of a people, their history, experience and civilization.
Last updated: 2014-11-16 19:37:02
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