The Poetry Society of America and City Lights Bookstore present SYRIA — Because We Come From Everything: The Poetics of Migration, a poetry reading and discussion as part of the Poetry Coalition’s 2017 programming with Jonathan Curiel, Jack Hirschman, and Jack Marshall . Twenty-two nonprofit poetry organizations from across the United States have formed a historic coalition dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and communities, and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. As its first public offering, throughout the month of March 2017, Poetry Coalition members will present multiple programs on the theme: Because We Come From Everything: Poetry & Migration, which borrows a line from U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem, “Borderbus.” The Poetry Society in conjunction with City Lights present an evening that focusses on the Syrian refugee crisis. Poets Jack Hirschman and Jack Marshall, will read poems of theirs and others. Journalist Jonathan Curiel will join them in conversation.
Jonathan Curiel is a San Francisco-based writer and journalist who has written widely about the Middle East, and has reported from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. His 2008 book, Al’ America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots won an American Book Award. He has been a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program fellow, a Thomson Reuters Foundation fellow at Oxford University, and a Fulbright Scholar at Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan. A former staff writer with the San Francisco Chronicle, he has written about the arts for SF Weekly since 2010.
Jack Hirschman is the former Poet Laureate of the City of San Francisco, a poet’s poet, translator, and editor. His powerfully eloquent voice set the tone for political poetry in this country many years ago. Since leaving a teaching career in the ’60s, Hirschman has taken the free exchange of poetry and politics into the streets where he is, in the words of poet Luke Breit, “America’s most important living poet.” He is the author of numerous books of poetry, plus some 45 translations from a half a dozen languages, as well as the editor of anthologies and journals. Among his many volumes of poetry are Endless Threshold, The Xibalba Arcane, and Lyripol (City Lights, 1976).
Born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents who emigrated from Iraq and Syria, Jack Marshall now lives in California. He is the author of the memoir From Baghdad to Brooklyn and several poetry collections that have received the PEN Center USA Award, two Northern California Book Awards, and a nomination from the National Book Critics Circle.