The Arab-American Educational Foundation Center for Arab Studies at the University of Houston held its Annual AAEF Dr. Burhan and Mrs. Misako Ajouz Professor of Arab Studies Distinguished Lecture in Literature on September 8, 2022, at the University of Houston under the title Contemporary Poetry: The Arab American Turn.
It was a discussion of Fady Joudahs Tethered to Stars: Poems and Hayan Chararas These Trees, Those Leaves, This Flower, That Fruit: Poems. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Sally Connolly, Associate Professor of English at the University of Houston and Associate Dean of Student and Faculty Success for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
In this episode of Arab Voices (# 1027), we will air some of the talk delivered at that event, including the readings of both Fady Joudah and Hayan Charara, introduced by Dr. Emire Cihan Yksel, Associate Professor at the University of Houston, who is serving as the 2022-23 Acting Director of the Arab-American Educational Foundation Center for Arab Studies. We will also air some of the questions and answers that followed their talk.
Fady Joudah is a Palestinian American physician, poet, and translator. Joudahs debut collection of poetry, The Earth in the Attic (2008), won the 2007 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. Joudah followed his second book of poetry, Alight (2013) with Textu (2014), a collection of poems written on a cell phone wherein each piece is exactly 160 characters long. His fourth collection is Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (2018). Joudahs fifth and most recent collection, Tethered to Stars: Poems (2021) was selected as a Library Journal Best Book of Poetry of 2021.
Hayan Charara is a poet, childrens book author, essayist, and editor. He is a professor in the Honors College at the University of Houston, where he also teaches creative writing. His poetry books are These Trees, Those Leaves, This Flower, That Fruit (2022), Something Sinister (2016), The Sadness of Others (2006), and The Alchemists Diary (2001). His childrens book, The Three Lucys (2016), received the New Voices Award Honor, and he edited Inclined to Speak (2008), an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry. With Fady Joudah, he is also a series editor of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize.