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Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by Refugees (Interlink 2018) is edited by Jehan Bseiso and Becky Thompson, and it features original and translated poetry by refugee artists, poets, and survivors, recent immigrants, as well as longtime exiles.

From their first call for submissions at a café in Beirut to offering poetry workshops in refugee camps, Becky Thompson and her co-editor Jehan Bseiso sought a range of voices to avoid monolithic, one-dimensional representations of refugees. Becky will reflect on lessons learned when offering poetry workshops, examine what working across language requires and how poet activists need to stay loose in the knees as state policies change. As the refugee crisis fades from the front page of newspapers, this collection is a plea against historical amnesia and inertia; the poems are an antidote that reaches beyond despair to renewed action.

The poets and poems featured in our reading hail from diverse backgrounds linguistically and culturally. The expansive physical geography of our nationalities, stretching from the US to Africa (Nigeria and Eritrea), all the way to Asia (Iran), and the Middle East (Palestinian Diaspora), mirrors the complexity of the mental and emotional worlds that brought us together and inspired our poetry reading.
Mootacem Mhiri, lecturer in Arabic at Vassar, translated and contributed two poems in this border-crossing anthology, by expatriate Eritrean poet and novelist Abu Bakr Khaal. He will host this event and read some poems. Featured Guest Poets include Gbenga Adesina, Zeina Azzam ’77, and Sholeh Wolpe.

Sponsored by Africana Studies Program

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