The Logic of Poetry and Dreams
For millennia, poetry and literature have been at the heart of Persian culture and identity, forming the foundation for much of Shirin Neshat’s practice. Emerging from the work of poets and writers from Rumi to Forugh Farrokhzad and from Attar to Shahrnush Parsipur are themes including mysticism, metaphor, exile, politics, the natural world, feminism, and intimacy, all of which are reflected in Neshat’s films and photographs.
In conjunction with Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again, and taking place in the exhibition galleries, poets, scholars, and artists across a range of media and from varied backgrounds will read, perform, and reflect upon Neshat’s works, and delve into the universality of these very themes. Co-organized with independent literary curators Louise Steinman and Maureen Moore.
October 24, 2019 - Sholeh Wolpé and Sahba Motallebi
Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-born poet and playwright. About Wolpé’s latest collection of poems, Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths, Shelf Awareness Magazine writes, “A gifted Iranian-American poet beautifully explores love and the loss of love, beauty and war and the ghosts of the past.” Wolpé’s modern translation of The Conference of the Birds (W.W. Norton, 2017) by the 12th century Iranian mystic poet Attar has been hailed by Reza Aslan as a translation that “is sure to be as timeless as the masterpiece itself.” Her translations of the iconic Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, Sin, was awarded the prestigious Lois Roth Persian Translation Award in 2010. Wolpé’s literary work number over 12 books of poetry, translations, and anthologies, as well as several plays. She has lived in Iran, the UK and Trinidad and is presently based in Los Angeles. More information: www.sholehwolpe.com
Sahba Motallebi is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso of the tar and setar. She exhibits her profound grasp of classical and contemporary Iranian music by masterfully weaving classical Persian styling, folk, and world fusion.
November 7, 2019 - Majid Naficy
Majid Naficy, the Arthur Rimbaud of Persian poetry, fled Iran in 1983, a year and a half after the execution of his wife, Ezzat, in Tehran. Since 1984, Naficy has been living in West Los Angeles. He has published two collections of poetry in English, Muddy Shoes (Beyond Baroque, Books, 1999) and Father and Son (Red Hen Press, 2003), as well as his doctoral dissertation at UCLA Modernism and Ideology in Persian Literature: A Return to Nature in the Poetry of Nima Yushij (University Press of America, 1997). Naficy has also published more than 20 books of poetry and essay in Persian.
November 14, 2019 - Kazim Ali
Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom to Muslim parents of Indian, Iranian, and Egyptian descent. He received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Albany-SUNY, and a Master of Fine Arts from New York University. His books encompass several volumes of poetry, including Inquisition; Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award; The Fortieth Day; All One’s Blue; and the cross-genre text Bright Felon. His novels include the recently published The Secret Room: A String Quartet, and among his books of essays are the hybrid memoir Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice. Ali has taught at various colleges and universities, including Oberlin College, Davidson College, St. Mary's College of California, and Naropa University. Ali is currently a professor of Literature and Writing at the University of California, San Diego.
November 21, 2019 - Carolina Rivera Escamilla
Carolina Rivera Escamilla—educator, writer, theater actor, and documentarian—lives in Los Angeles, California. Born in El Salvador, she went into exile in Canada in the 1980s. In her as-yet untitled novel-in-progress, Rivera Escamilla is actively exploring and researching the theme of displacement, exile, retrieval, and tracing of memory within the written character’s present world. She is also translating her published book of short stories …after… into Spanish. She actively organizes events as a cultural promoter in Los Angeles. She gets regularly published in anthologies, online-lit magazines, literary magazines, and in Spanish and English newspapers. Her book of short stories, entitled …after… was published in 2015. Since publication, …after… is being utilized as part of reading curriculum in several colleges and universities. Director, writer and producer of the documentary Manlio Argueta, Poets and Volcanoes, Rivera Escamilla earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, University of California, Los Angeles, with an emphasis in creative writing and Spanish Literature. More information: www.carolinariveraescamilla.com
December 5, 2019 - Jazmin Garcia
Jazmin Garcia is a director and cinephile based in Los Angeles. She has been developing her body of work through music videos and short documentaries. Her work explores themes of immigration and cultural assimilation, using family histories and her own experience as a second generation Mexican-Guatemalan-American to weave intimate stories of trauma, magic, amor, and the perseverance of hope. Her short films evoke moments of timeless beauty, reveal the sweetness in individual struggle, lend visibility to, and inspire those whose stories are so often left out of the picture.
December 12, 2019 - Sholeh Wolpé
Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-born poet and playwright. About Wolpé’s latest collection of poems, Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths, Shelf Awareness Magazine writes, “A gifted Iranian-American poet beautifully explores love and the loss of love, beauty and war and the ghosts of the past.” Wolpé’s modern translation of The Conference of the Birds (W.W. Norton, 2017) by the 12th century Iranian mystic poet Attar has been hailed by Reza Aslan as a translation that “is sure to be as timeless as the masterpiece itself.” Her translations of the iconic Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, Sin, was awarded the prestigious Lois Roth Persian Translation Award in 2010. Wolpé’s literary work number over 12 books of poetry, translations, and anthologies, as well as several plays. She has lived in Iran, the UK, and Trinidad and is presently based in Los Angeles. More information: www.sholehwolpe.com
December 19, 2019 - Vickie Vertiz
A graduate of Williams College, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California, Riverside, Vickie Vértiz is a writer from Bell Gardens. The oldest child of an immigrant Mexican family, Vértiz’s writing is featured in the New York Times magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others. Her book Palm Frond with Its Throat Cut won the 2018 PEN America literary prize in poetry. Vértiz is a former fellow of the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship, the Macondo Foundation, and earned numerous other scholarships. She has given lectures and readings in France, Japan, Mexico, and throughout the United States. Vickie teaches writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara. To keep up with her work, follow her on Instagram: @vickievertiz.
January 9, 2020 - Houman Sarshar
Dr. Houman Sarshar received his B.A. from UCLA and his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Columbia University. He is an independent scholar, the co-editor of three volumes of The Contemporary History of Iranian Jews, and a contributing author to the Encyclopædia Iranica and The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. His publications include Esther’s Children:A Portrait of Iranian Jews, Jewish Communities of Iran: Entries on Judeo-Persian Communities published by the Encyclopædia Iranica, and The Jews of Iran: The History, Religion, and Culture of a Community in the Islamic World. Dr. Sarshar is the founder of the Kimia Foundation, dedicated to promoting the art, culture, and history of Iran. With over 5,000 original photographs, the Kimia Foundation holds the largest archive of Qajar court photography outside the Golestan Palace in Tehran. Dr. Sarshar is presently working on his next book about the role of Iranian Jews in classical and minstrel Persian music from the Safavid period to the end of the Pahlavi monarchy.
January 16, 2020 - Odeya Nini
Odeya Nini is a Los Angeles-based experimental vocalist and contemporary composer. At the locus of her interests are performance practices, textural harmony, gesture, tonal animation, and the illumination of minute sounds in works spanning chamber music to vocal pieces to collages of musique concrète. Her solo vocal work extends the dimension and expression of the voice and body, creating a sonic and physical panorama of silence to noise and tenderness to grandeur. Nini has collaborated extensively with dancers, visual artists, filmmakers, and theater directors as both a composer and soloist, and has worked with artists such as Butch Morris, Meredith Monk, Lucy & Jorge Orta, The Industry, and Wild Up.
Odeya's work has been presented at Resonant Bodies Festival, The LA Phil, Merkin Concert Hall, The Kitchen, MONA, and The Pulitzer Arts Foundation. She has lectured on contemporary vocal techniques, composition, and the intersection with holistic practices and leads vocal sound baths, workshops, and retreats exploring the healing qualities of embodied voice. More information: www.odeyanini.com
January 23, 2020 - Jennifer Saparzadeh
January 30, 2020 - Christopher Soto
February 6, 2020 - dana washington
dana washington (b. 1985) is a writer and visual artist exploring the complexities of black existence, historical fiction, and the psychic sublime through poetry, cinema, video, and photography.
washington received a Bachelor of Arts in English: Rhetoric & Composition from California State University, Long Beach and is a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts candidate at the University of California, San Diego.
Select screenings, exhibitions, and publications: Black Radical Imagination, OUTFEST Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival, Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival, Art + Practice, San Diego Art Institute, LA FilmForum. She has been published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Hyperallergic, Filmmaker Magazine, and has contributed portraits to Gal-Dem Magazine and L.A. RECORD Magazine.
February 13, 2020 - Shonda Buchanan
Award-winning poet and educator Shonda Buchanan (b. 1968) was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a daughter of Mixed Bloods, tri-racial and tri-ethnic African American, American Indian, and European-descendant families who migrated from North Carolina and Virginia in the mid-1700 to 1800s to Southwestern Michigan. Black Indian, her memoir, begins the saga of these migration stories of Free People of Color communities exploring identity, ethnicity, landscape and loss.
For the last 18 years, Buchanan has taught Creative Writing, Composition, and Critical Theory at Loyola Marymount University, Hampton University, and William & Mary College. An Eloise Klein-Healy Scholarship recipient, a Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow, a Jentel Artist Residency fellow, and a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow, Buchanan has received grants from the California Community Foundation, Arts Midwest/National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Program, and several grants from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Past events in this series
The Logic of Poetry and Dreams - Shonda Buchanan
Thursday, Feb 13, 2020 | 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
The Logic of Poetry and Dreams - dana washington
Thursday, Feb 06, 2020 | 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
The Logic of Poetry and Dreams - Christopher Soto
Thursday, Jan 30, 2020 | 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.