Please join us for an urgent reading in support of the Palestinian people, organized by the poet Deema K. Shehabi. Deema will read beside her colleagues Zeina Hashem Beck, Aracelis Girmay, Nathalie Khankan and Priscilla Wathington, with instrumental interludes by bassist Marcus Shelby.
Deema K. Shehabi is a Palestinian-American poet, writer and editor. She is the author of Thirteen Departures from the Moon and co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, for which she received a Northern California Book Award. She’s also co-author of Diaspo/Renga with Marilyn Hacker and winner of the Nazim Hikmet poetry competition in 2018. Deema’s work has appeared widely in literary magazines and anthologies, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. For more information, please visit her website at Deema K. Shehabi.
Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet. Her poetry collection, O (Penguin Books, 2022) won the 2023 George Ellenbogen Poetry Award. She’s also the author of Louder than Hearts (Bauhan Publishing, 2017) and To Live in Autumn (The Backwaters Press, 2014) as well as two chapbooks: 3arabi Song (Rattle, 2016) and There Was and How Much There Was (smith|doorstop, 2016). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Nation and elsewhere. She recently moved to California with her husband and two daughters.
Aracelis Girmay is a teacher, editor and poet who makes work across genres, including essays, collage and picture books. Her most recent full-length poetry collection is titled the black maria. Recent collaborations include the forthcoming artist book, and was a flower, made in collaboration with artist Valentina Améstica. Girmay is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund.
Nathalie Khankan is the author of Quiet Orient Riot, published by Omnidawn, winner of the 2021 California Book Award in Poetry. She holds a PhD in Arabic Literature and is a Continuing Lecturer of Arabic in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley. Straddling Syrian, Finnish, Danish, and Palestinian homes and hemispheres, she now lives in San Francisco.
Priscilla Wathington is the author of the chapbook, Paper and Stick (Tram Editions), which draws from her past work with NGOs such as Defense for Children International – Palestine, Norwegian Refugee Council and the Arab American Action Network. Her poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Michigan Quarterly Review, Salamander and elsewhere. She is a Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) board member and an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.
Marcus Shelby is a renowned jazz bassist, composer, educator and ethnomusicologist whose work focuses on the history, present and future of African American lives, social movements and music education. In 1990, he received the Charles Mingus Scholarship to attend Cal Arts and study composition with James Newton and bass with Charlie Haden. He is currently the Artistic Director of Healdsburg Jazz, an artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, and a past resident artist with the San Francisco Jazz Festival and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. He has composed oratorios and suites, theater and film scores, and has collaborated with a number of writers bringing their work to the concert stage. He has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 2013 and has worked with the Equal Justice Society for over 20 years.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site