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Gaza Poet Mosab Abu Toha, in conversation with Mary Karr
May 7, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Takes place at 12 noon Pacific/3 pm Eastern/20:00 UK/21:00 CET
The Markaz Review and City Lights in conjunction with the Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance celebrate the publication of Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza, by Mosab Abu Toha, published by City Lights Books.
This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform. You will need access to a device that is capable of accessing the Internet. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.
“Mosab Abu Toha is an astonishingly gifted young poet from Gaza, almost a seer with his eloquent lyrical vernacular … His poems break my heart and awaken it, at the same time. I feel I have been waiting for his work all my life.”–Naomi Shihab Nye
In this poetry debut Mosab Abu Toha writes about his life under siege in Gaza, first as a child, and then as a young father. A survivor of four brutal military attacks, he bears witness to a grinding cycle of destruction and assault, and yet, his poetry is inspired by a profound humanity.
These poems emerge directly from the experience of growing up and living in constant lockdown, and often under direct attack. Like Gaza itself, they are filled with rubble and the ever-present menace of surveillance drones policing a people unwelcome in their own land, and they are also suffused with the smell of tea, roses in bloom, and the view of the sea at sunset. Children are born, families continue traditions, students attend university, and libraries rise from the ruins as Palestinians go on about their lives, creating beauty and finding new ways to survive.
Mosab Abu Toha is a Palestinian poet, scholar, and librarian who was born in Gaza and has spent his life there. A graduate in English language teaching and literature, he taught English at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools in Gaza from 2016 until 2019, and is the founder of the Edward Said Library, Gaza’s first English-language library. In 2019-2020, Abu Toha was a Visiting Poet in the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University; a Visiting Librarian at Harvard’s Houghton Library; and a Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative Fellow in the Harvard Divinity School. In 2020, Abu Toha gave talks and readings at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and the University of Arizona. He also spoke at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting held in Philadelphia in January 2020. In October 2021, University of Notre Dame’s Literatures, Annihilation, Exile, and Resistance lecture series hosted Abu Toha to speak about his poetry and work in Gaza. Abu Toha is a columnist for Arrowsmith Press, and his writings from Gaza have appeared in The Nation, Arrowsmith Press, and Literary Hub. His poems have been published on the Poetry Foundation’s website, in Poetry Magazine, Banipal, Solstice, The Markaz Review, The New Arab, Peripheries, and other journals.
Mary Karr is an award-winning poet and best-selling memoirist. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed and New York Times best-selling memoirs The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit, as well as The Art of Memoir, and five poetry collections, most recently Tropic of Squalor. Karr is also a songwriter, having collaborated with Rodney Crowell, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams and others on a country album called KIN.
The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) works to protect the rights and improve the lives of children in the Middle East through aid, empowerment and education. In the Middle East, MECA provides humanitarian aid, partners with community organizations to run projects for children, and supports income-generation projects. In the US and internationally, MECA raises awareness about the lives of children in the region and encourages meaningful action.To learn more visit them at : https://www.mecaforpeace.org
This event has been made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation.