April 19, 2017

An Evening of Poetry & Prose, April 12

This event at the Hudson River Coffee House was under the umbrella of The American Initiative for Jewish-Muslim Love & Peace, a reading of Muslim & Jewish poets. It was coordinated by Havey Havel who was also the MC.

The first reader, Jarrar Hussain, said this was his first reading, read “I Miss You” a lament in memory of his loved ones, then one about his father, another in a funny, teasing mood to his wife.

Ejaz Hussain is a published poet writing in Urdu & Punjabi. He read a poem beginning “my eyes reflect the beauty of my love…” a sad poem, the a poem for the Spring season.

Jay Deitcher began with a prose piece in the form of a letter from “a very Jewish character” to an administrator on his job, very cranky & rambling. The a poem in rhyme “Shiva.” He said this was his first public reading.

Alaa Muhiddin was born in Syria, came to the US as a young child & is now a student at UAlbany. She began by reading the work of her father, Yasin Aref, who is currently in prison as a result of an FBI sting operation that resulted in a raid on the mosque in Albany, Masjid as-Salam, where he was the imam. His autobiography, Son of Mountains: My Life as a Kurd and a Terror Suspect was published in 2008. Alaa read her father’s poems about his arrest & being in prison, including “Guilty by Birth,” & the ironically titled “Freedom.” Also, poems originally written in Kurdish in the 1980s & 1990s, as well as some lighter love poems. She read some of her own poems in a variety of moods, including one to her father, another on the destruction of her father’s village where 5000 people were killed & refugees had to walk from Iraq to Iran, & some short, rhyming upbeat poems on love & desire.

Ejaz Hussain came back to read a few more poems, including a ghazal on love, one titled “I Had Time Living in the World,” & one about vicious people.

Joe Krausman was the last, & best known, of the readers. He read some poems that were much-published, “The Passionate Accountant to His Love,” or that he made money on, “Ship Wrecked.” & others that he’s read out & about at local readings, including “Riding Shotgun for Wells Fargo,” “Limits,” “My Heart is an Onion,” “Imagination,” “A Thrill is in the Air,” & others.

These Evenings of Poetry & Prose are coordinated by Havey Havel on a irregular basis — stay in touch at AlbanyPoets.com.

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