Arts and culture

Out of the Ashes, Drops of Meaning: The Poetic Success of Suheir Hammad


A little more than a year ago, Brooklyn-reared Palestinian American Suheir Hammad was just an obscure writer and occasional college student putting in work on the New York poetry circuit and taking to the streets for a variety of political causes. Then terrorists attacked her city. The 28-year-old responded the only way she knew how: She jotted down a poem, “First Writing Since.” Amid the ocean of print inspired by That Day, perhaps no other collection of words has so succinctly articulated the strange confluence of being both Muslim and American in that moment in history. Natalie Hopkinson writes in the Washington Post. 

Just Call Him the 'Oud' Man of Music


Najeeb Shaheen in NY, September 2002. Photo by Nigel Parry. Najeeb Shaheen builds, repairs and plays the oud in two bands. Shaheen’s father was a professor of music and a master oud player, and his grandfather was a musician and a church cantor. His brother, Simon Shaheen, is known as one of the oud’s most accomplished adherents, and played on Sting’s song ‘Desert Rose’. Najeeb learned his craftsman’s skills from a one-time Israeli citizen who now builds violins for a living in Manhattan. “Sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree. Most often we disagree,” said Segal. “But we are like brothers, bonded by music, and so it has become a joke as well. If I tell him to move from one seat to another, he will turn to me and say, ‘What? You stole my land and now you want my chair as well?’ ” Ayaz Nanji profiles Najeeb in Newsday. 

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