Reading: Arab Heritage Week: The Arab-American Literary Tradition, with Lawrence Joseph and Betty Shamieh

Mon, July 13, 2009 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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To celebrate Arab American Heritage Week - - poet Lawrence Joseph will present the history of Arab American literary tradition, reading a selection from Arab American writers, beginning with the Mahjar, emigrant poets of The Pen League formed by Khalil Gibran in New York City in 1920, through to writers of Arab ancestry who have lived or live in New York City up until today.

Among those whose work will be read are Ameen Rihani , Kahlil Gibran, Mikhail Naimy, Etel Adnan, Elia Abu Madi, D.H. Melhem, Sinan Antoon, Suheir Hammad, Nuar Alsadir, and Nathalie Handal.

Mr. Joseph is pleased to be joined by playwright and poet Betty Shamieh, who will also read from her work.


Lawrence Joseph was born in Detroit. His Lebanese and Syrian grandparents were among the city’s first Arab emigres. He is the author of five books of poems, most recently Into It and Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos: Poems 1973-1993. He is the author of Lawyerland, a book of prose, and, forthcoming, The Game Changed, a book of prose on poets and poetry. Among his awards are two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Mr. Joseph is Tinnelly Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law.

Betty Shamieh is a Palestinian-American writer. Her poetry has been published in Mizna and the Poetry for the People Anthology. Her play, Roar, was one of the first plays about a Palestinian-American family to premier off-Broadway. Her other plays include The Black Eyed, Chocolate in Heat, The Machine, and Territories. In 2009, her work will have several European premiers in translation. A graduate of Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama, Ms. Shamieh is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts and has been a fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies.

Last updated: 2009-07-09 19:13:11

Lawrence Joseph
Lawrence Joseph
Betty Shamieh
Betty Shamieh

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