February 20, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Palestinian poet and author Suheir Hammad, a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, will gather several of her breaking poems into an evening reading at 7:30 p.m. at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College Monday, March 3. The fourth in a series of Copeland Fellow events on the theme of “Art and Identity in the Global Community,” the reading is free and open to the public.
According to Hammad, this new work responds to the language soundscape(s) of the city, reflecting the headline news as reader and subject, while “remembering myths and rewinding narratives for a break in perspective,” she says.
Born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, Hammad immigrated with her family to Brooklyn, N.Y., when she was five years old. She has published two volumes of poetry, titled Born Palestinian, Born Black and Zaatar Diva, and an autobiography, Drops of This Story. She has been featured on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and was co-writer and a member of the 2003 Tony Award-winning cast of the original Broadway show of the same name. She believes poetry is a place for imagination, exploration, dissent and critical thinking, and is committed to making it a popular art.
Her performance is sponsored by Amherst’s Marisa Parham, professor of English, and Manu Mukasa, professor of theater and dance.
Each year, the Copeland Colloquium brings a group of visiting scholars and artists to Amherst as fellows. This year’s colloquium theme, “Art and Identity in the Global Community,” was proposed by a group of faculty as the outcome of cross-disciplinary discussions on “the ways in which artists and scholars are revising notions of community identity as well as aesthetic conventions in response to new developments in media and migration.” Faculty representing seven different academic departments and the Mead Art Museum joined to become sponsors and organizers of the colloquium, and brought five international artists, working in a broad spectrum of media to Amherst to work in residence for both semesters of the academic year.