Poets Through Resistance

Fawzia Afzal-Khan is professor of English at Montclair University. She is the editor of Shattering Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out (Interlink Books, 2005). Her scholarly articles have appeared in numerous journals, includingthe Journal of South Asian Studies, NWSA Journal, Social Text, Womanist Theory and Research, and Wasafiri. Among her other scholarly recognitions, Professor Afzal-Khan has been awarded a W.E.B. Dubois Fellowship and a grant from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies.

Amiri Baraka is a poet, critic, and political activist. He is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including Selected Poetry of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones (William Morrow & Co, 1979), The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues (William Morrow & Co, 1987), and Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems (House of Nehesi Publishers, 2003). Among his many awards and honors are an Obie, the American Academy of Arts & Letters award, the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contributions to the arts, and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ibtisam Barakat is the author of Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007). She grew up in Ramallah and currently resides in the United States. Her work centers on healing social injustices, especially in the lives of young people. She has taught language ethics at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri and is the founder of Write Your Life seminars.

Hamida Begum, who is ten years old, is a student at Muwatta Weekend Maktab, an Islamic educational institute based in London, England. She enjoys creative handicraft as a hobby and hopes to someday work toward portraying a more accurate and clear image of Islam and Muslims.

Omar Chakaki was born in the Middle East to a Syrian family and emigrated to the United States at age four. He was raised in the Washington, D.C. area and earned a B.A. in Architecture/Digital Art from the University of Virginia in 2003. Chakaki currently resides in Los Angeles, where his role as Omar Offendum (of the bi-coastal hip-hop group the N.O.M.A.D.S.) has given him the opportunity to perform at venues across the globe, from the House of Blues in Hollywood to the Citadel in Amman, Jordan.

Hayan Charara is an Arab-American poet and the editor of the forthcoming anthology Inclined to Speak: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab-American Poetry (University of Arkansas Press, 2008). He has authored two books of poetry, The Alchemist’s Diary (Hanging Loose Press, 2001) and The Sadness of Others (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2006). His poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including the Birmingham Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream (Wayne State University Press, 2000),and Present Tense: Poets in the World (Hanging Loose Press, 2005).

Mahmoud Darwish is the author of more than thirty books of poetry and prose. He has received numerous international awards, including the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, the Lannan Foundation Prize for Cultural Freedom, and the Prince Claus Prize. His most recent collection of work translated to English is The Butterfly’s Burden (Copper Canyon Press, 2006).

Kathy Engel is a poet, teacher, producer, and strategic planner for peace and social    justice organizations. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Banish the Tentative (Wingding and Honey Press, 1989) and Ruth’s Skirts (IKON, 2007). She is the co-editor of We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon (Interlink Books, 2007). Engel currently serves on the advisory board of the United States Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Veronica Golos is the author of A Bell Buried Deep (Story Line Press, 2003). A recipient of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, Golos’ work has appeared in Rattapallax, Poetry London, Oberon, Zeek, Heliotrope, Tribes, Long Shot, Bridges,and Drunken Boat. She is a founding member of 3poets4peace, a performance group that donates proceeds from its work to peace organizations. Golos was nominated as the Best Spoken Word Artist at the 2006 Just Plain Folks American Music Awards. She resides in Taos, New Mexico.

Marilyn Hacker is the author of several collections of poems, including Desesperanto: Poems 1999-2002 (W. W. Norton & Company, 2003) and Presentation Piece (Viking Press, 1974), which was the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets and a National Book Award winner. She also translated Vénus Khoury-Ghata’s poetry, published in Here There Was Once a Country (Oberlin College Press, 2001) and She Says (Graywolf Press, 2003). Hacker has received numerous honors, including the Bernard F. Conners Prize from the Paris Review and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

Marian Haddad was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She is the author of Somewhere between Mexico and a River Called Home (Pecan Grove Press, 2004). Her poetry and essays have been featured in numerous magazines and journals, including the Rio Grande Review, Texas Observer,and Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders. She was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to study philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. She currently lives in San Antonio, where she works as a lecturer, freelance writer, manuscript consultant, and visiting writer.

Laila Halaby was born in Lebanon to a Jordanian father and American mother, and raised in the United States. She is the author of the novels West of the Jordan (Beacon Press, 2003) and Once in a Promised Land (Beacon Press, 2007). Her poetry has been featured in numerous anthologies, including The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (Interlink Books, 2000), and The Flag of Childhood: Poems From the Middle East (Aladdin, 2002). She currently lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Suheir Hammad is the author of Born Palestinian, Born Black (Writers & Readers Publishing, 1996), Drops of This Story (Writers & Readers Publishing, 1996), and ZaatarDiva (Rattapallax Press, 2006). Reared in Brooklyn by Palestinian refugee parents, she has traveled around the world reading her poetry. A winner of numerous writing awards, she is a writer and cast member of the TONY Award-winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.

Nathalie Handal is the author of The Neverfield (Interlink Books, 2005) and The Lives of Rain (Interlink Books, 2005), which was shortlisted for the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize/the Pitt Poetry Series. She has recorded two CDs of poetry, Traveling Rooms (1999) and Spell (2006). She is the editor of The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (Interlink Books, 2000), a winner of the Pen Oakland/Josephine Miles Award and an Academy of American Poets bestseller, and the co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond (W.W. Norton & Co, 2008).

Dima Hilal was born in Beirut and raised in California. Her poetry and writing has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Orion, Aramco, The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (Interlink Books, 2001), and Scheherazade’s Legacy: Arab and Arab-American Women on Writing (Praeger, 2004). Her libretto, Raheel, was a finalist in the Oakland East Bay Symphony’s Words and Music Project. She is currently working on a collection of poetry. 

Melissa Hotchkiss is a poet and editor. Her first book of poems, Storm Damage, was published by Tupelo Press in 2002. Her work has appeared in the Marlboro Review, Four Way Reader #2, New York Times, Free Inquiry, LIT, 7 Carmine, Cortland Review, 3rd bed, Gathering of the Tribes, Lyric Poetry Review, Upstairs at Duroc, Diner,and Heliotrope. Her prose has appeared in the New York Times and New Virginia Review. Hotchkiss is an editor of the poetry journal Barrow Street. She lives in New York City with her dog, Jesse.

Annemarie Jacir is a Palestinian filmmaker, poet, and activist based in Ramallah. Selected for the Sundance Filmmaker’s Lab in Utah and awarded several screenwriting awards, Jacir focuses on issues of race, class, and liberation. She has read with poet Amiri Baraka, and her work has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including the Crab Orchard Review and The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (Interlink Books, 2001).

Pierre Joris has published over twenty books and chapbooks of poetry, including Breccia (Guernica Editions, 1987), Turbulence (Saint Lazaire Press, 1991), and Poasis: Selected Poems 1986-1999 (Wesleyan University Press, 2001). He co-edited the two-volume anthology of poetry, Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry (University of California Press, 1998) and, in 2003, under the title of A Nomad Poetics, published a selection of essays.

Fady Joudah is a physician, member of Doctors Without Borders, translator, and poet. He is also the poetry editor of RAWI (Radius of Arab American Writers). His poetry has appeared in various journals, including the Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, and Beloit Poetry Journal. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s recent works is collected in The Butterfly’s Burden, published by Copper Canyon Press (2007).

Remi Kanazi is a Palestinian-American poet and writer based in New York City. He is the co-founder of the political website, PoeticInjustice.net.His political commentary, which primarily focuses on Palestine, has been featured in numerous print and online publications. He recently appeared in the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and has been regularly featured on the Al Jazeera English program, The Listening Post.

Vénus Khoury-Ghata was born in northern Lebanon. She is a poet and novelist and has written fourteen novels and twelve collections of poetry in French. She has two collections of poetry translated into English, Here There Was Once a Country (Oberlin College Press, 2001) and She Says (Graywolf Press, 2003). Her work has been translated into several languages, including English, Arabic, Italian, Russian, and Polish.

Lisa Suhair Majaj is a Palestinian-American. Her creative work has been published in over fifty journals and anthologies in the United States and abroad. Her scholarly work focuses on Arab-American literature, and she has co-edited three collections of critical essays: Going Global: The Transnational Reception of Third World Women Writers (Routledge, 2000), Etel Adnan: Critical Essays on the Arab-American Writer and Artist (McFarland & Company, 2002), and Intersections: Gender, Nation and Community in Arab Women’s Novels (Syracuse University Press, 2002). She lives in Nicosia, Cyprus.

D. H. Melhem is the author of seven books of poetry, three novels, a musical drama, a creative writing workbook, over sixty essays, and two edited anthologies. Her critical works on black poets include the first comprehensive study of Gwendolyn Brooks. Among her many awards for poetry and prose are an American Book Award, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, three Pushcart Prize nominations, and a CUNY Ph.D. Alumni Association Special Achievement Award. She is the winner of the 2007 RAWI Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Melhem also serves as vice-president of the International Women’s Writing Guild.

Philip Metres is a poet and a translator whose work has appeared in numerous journals and in Best American Poetry (Scribner, 2002). His books include A Kindred Orphanhood: Selected Poems of Sergey Gandlevsky (Zephyr Press, 2003), Primer for Non-Native Speakers (Kent State University Press, 2004), Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Selected Poems of Lev Rubinstein (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004), Instants (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006), and Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront, Since 1941 (University of Iowa Press, 2007). He teaches literature and creative writing at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

E. Ethelbert Miller is the author of several collections of poetry, including How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love (Curbstone Press, 2004). He is also the editor of numerous anthologies, including In Search of Color Everywhere: A Collection of African-American Poetry (Stewart Tabori & Chang, 1994), which received the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. Miller has received a number of other awards and honors, including an O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize and the Stephen Henderson Poetry Award from the African-American Literature and Culture Society.

J.A. Miller is a grandmother and activist. She lived in the Middle East for many years, where she learned to speak fluent Arabic. She has published online essays at Dissident Voice, State of Nature,and Counterpunch as well Burma Shave-style doggerel at PoeticInjustice.net.Miller, a systems analyst by day, likes nothing better than to have a bit of poetic fun with the legion of western progressives besotted with Zionism. She is currently working on a book about the Protestant origins of the Zionist project.

Mr. Tibbz is a Sudanese conceived/D.C.-born/Virginia-bred hip-hop artist. Raised all over the map—from the madness of Dodge City in the mid-80’s, the war drenched Sudan in the late 80’s, recently independent Namibia in the 90’s, the English countryside in ‘91, and frequent stops to Apartheid and post-Apartheid South Africa—he got to see a lot of what most choose to deny or try to hide about the ugly system we live in. Also known as Da Dirty Cousin for his obsessive vulgarity, he tears through issues ranging from suicide bombings to selling weed in his underwear.

Naomi Shihab Nye is a Palestinian-American poet. Her books of poems include Hugging the Jukebox (Breitenbush Books, 1982), Red Suitcase (BOA Editions, 1994), Fuel (BOA Editions, 1998), 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (Greenwillow, 2002), and You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005). Nye has received numerous awards, including the Academy of American Poets’ Lavan Award and four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Wittner Bynner Fellow. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Alicia Ostriker is an American poet and critic. She has authored eleven books of poetry. Her poetry has been featured in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Antaeus, Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Atlantic, MS, Tikkun, and many other journals and anthologies. The recipient of numerous honors, she has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Society of America, the San Francisco State Poetry Center, the Judah Magnes Museum, the New Jersey Arts Council, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She is Professor Emerita of English at Rutgers University.

Tahani Salah is a performer, poet, and activist in Brooklyn. For the last five years, she has worked with Urban Word NYC, a youth spoken word collective in New York City. She was a 2006 Urban Word NYC slam team member, serves as the Youth Outreach Coordinator, and sits on the Urban Word Youth board. As a Palestinian-American Muslim woman, she is committed to bringing light and solutions to problems faced by people from communities whose voices are silenced. She is currently a senior at Columbia University and is working on her first collection of poetry.

Junichi P. Semitsu is a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, a blogger for Poplicks.com, and a poet. While teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, he was the director of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Stanford Law Review, Chicago Tribune, and New Crisis. He was a finalist in the San Francisco Poetry Slam and has performed on National Public Radio.

Deema Shehabi is a Palestinian poet who grew up in the Arab world. Her poems have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including the Atlanta Review, Bat City Review, Crab Orchard, Kenyon Review, Mississippi Review, Drunken Boat, DMQ Review, Flyway, Body Eclectic, White Ink, and The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (Interlink Books, 2000). She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her poems have been translated into French and Farsi. She resides in California with her husband and two sons.

Patricia Smith is the author of four books of poetry, including Teahouse of the Almighty (Coffee House Press, 2006), a 2005 National Poetry Series selection. She is a 2007 winner of the Chautauqua Literary Journal Award in Poetry and the Paterson Poetry Prize. A four-time individual champion on the National Poetry Slam, Smith has also been a featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She has served as the Bruce McEver Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech University and is a faculty member of Cave Canem, an organization dedicated to the uncovering and nurturing of new voices in African-American poetry.

Melissa Tuckey is a poet, activist, and teacher living in Washington, D.C.  Her poems have been published in numerous journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, Southeast Review, among others. She is an Ohio Arts Council Grant recipient. She teaches writing at George Mason University and serves as Events Coordinator for D.C. Poets Against the War. Her chapbook, Rope As Witness, has been recently published and released by Pudding House Press.

Nizar Wattad (a.k.a. Ragtop) was born in Palestine and raised in Tennessee. He is a Palestinian-American hip-hop artist and screenwriter. He earned his undergraduate degree from the George Washington University in 2001, and has since written and edited for several literary and news publications. Wattad earned an M.A. in screenwriting from the University of Southern California in 2006, and his thesis screenplay, Agency, was a semi-finalist in that year’s Final Draft Big Break, Brass Brad Mentorship, and ABC/Walt Disney Company Writing Fellowship competitions.

Sholeh Wolpé was born in Iran. She is the author of The Scar Saloon (Red Hen Press, 2004), Sin—Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad,(University of Arkansas Press, 2007), and Rooftops of Tehran (Red Hen Press, 2008). Her poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in scores of literary journals, periodicals, and anthologies worldwide, and have been translated into several languages. She lives in Los Angeles.

Ghassan Zaqtan was born in the Palestinian Diaspora and currently resides in Ramallah. He has authored numerous volumes of poetry. His novel, Describing the Past,was published in Jordan in 1995. Zaqtan is the editor of the poetry quarterly, Al-Shou’ara, the editor of the literary page of Al-Ayyam, and the co-founder and director of the House of Poetry in Ramallah. He currently works at the Palestinian Ministry of Culture.


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I am an activist for World Peace, Justice, Human Rights and a better world. I do not want to change to Gavatar icon as I like the one I have had for a few years now! I say little about my education, and put no picture as the content is important not appearance or unnecessary self-praise.

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