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Award-winning American poet, author, and political activist Suheir Hammad is the featured writer for this year's Andrew Salkey Memorial Reading, on Wednesday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Red Barn. The event is free and open to the public. After the reading, Hammad will be available for a book signing.
Suheir Hammad was a co-writer and original cast member in the Tony-award winning Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. She has won several awards for her writing, including The Audre Lorde Poetry Award, a Van Lier Fellowship, and a Sister of Fire Award. She is the author of breaking poems, recipient of a 2009 American Book Award and the Arab American Book award for Poetry 2009. Her other books are ZaatarDiva; Born Palestinian, Born Black; and Drops of This Story. Her work has been widely anthologized and also adapted for theater.
An Amherst College Copeland Fellow, she stars in the Palestinian film, Salt of This Sea, which was a 2008 Cannes Film Festival Official Selection. Her produced plays include Blood Trinity and breaking letter(s), and she wrote the libretto for the multimedia performance Re-Orientalism. She was the Artist in Residency at the NYU’s APA Institute for 2010.
Renowned poet and activist Carolyn Forche writes that "Suheir Hammad's Breaking Poems introduces English to an Arabic vernacular that startles into being an altogether new language, bridging the archipelago of a Palestine under siege to the diaspora and beyond, breaking through convention, breaking open locks on mind and heart, breaking into a music... that is at once a joyous celebration of survival and a poignant cri de Coeur that cannot be ignored... This is a poetry written for people who have endured the winds of hurricanes and invasions."
As part of Hampshire's commitment to social and artistic engagement, the Salkey Memorial Reading is organized to commemorate the Caribbean writer, novelist, poet, journalist, editor, and beloved Hampshire College professor Andrew Salkey.
Suheir Hammad's TED Talk