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Zeina Hashem Beckin conversation with Hala Alyan

September 15 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

From a “brilliant, absolutely essential voice” whose “poems feel like whole worlds” (Naomi Shihab Nye), a poetry collection considering the body physical, the body politic, and the body sacred.

Zeina Hashem Beck writes at the intersection of the divine and the profane, where she crafts elegant, candid poems that simultaneously exude a boundless curiosity and a deep knowingness.

Formally electrifying—from lyrics and triptychs to ghazals and Zeina’s own duets, in which English and Arabic echo and contradict each other—O explores the limits of language, notions of home and exile, and stirring visions of motherhood, memory, and faith.

 

Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet. Her third full-length poetry collection, O, is forthcoming from Penguin Books in July 2022. Her collection Louder than Hearts won the 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize. She’s also the author of 3arabi Song, winner of the 2016 Rattle Chapbook prize, There Was and How Much There Was, a 2016 Laureate’s Choice selected by Carol Ann Duffy, and To Live in Autumn, winner of the 2013 Backwaters Prize. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The New York Times, Poetry, Ploughshares, World Literature Today, the Academy of American Poets, and elsewhere. Educated in Arabic, English, and French, Zeina has a BA and an MA in English Literature from the American University of Beirut. Zeina’s invented The Duet, a bilingual poetic form where English and Arabic exist separately and in relationship to each other. Her poem “Maqam” won Poetry Magazine’s 2017 Frederick Bock Prize. She’s the co-creator and co-host, with poet Farah Chamma, of Maqsouda, a podcast about Arabic poetry. After a lifetime in Lebanon and a decade in Dubai, Zeina recently moved to California.

 

Hala Alyan is the author of the novel Salt Houses, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize. Her latest novel, The Arsonists’ City, was published in March 2021 and was a finalist for the 2022 Aspen Words Literary Prize. She is also the author of four award-winning collections of poetry, most recently The Twenty-Ninth Year. Her work has been published by The New Yorker, The Academy of American Poets, LitHub, The New York Times Book Review, and  Guernica. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter, where she works as a clinical psychologist.