The World in an Alley: The Music of Poetry

by    /  May 31, 2010  / No comments

In Sampsonia Way —a narrow alley on the North Side of Pittsburgh—has become a bustling avenue traversed by writers from all over the world. Croatia, Cuba, Macedonia—just to mention a few—have been represented here.

Just here, I could meet Meena Kandasamy from India. She is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer who describes herself as a grass-roots activist and travels around the globe to talk about the problems in her country with a fresh point of view.

Just here I could have long conversation with Maxine Case —my friend now—and compare the racism in South Africa and Guatemala. Not that different in essence, we agreed.

Just here I could hang out with Glaydah Namukasa, from Uganda, and Marius Ivaškevičius, from Lithuania, and discover their countries through their writing.

The odds may be slim that these writers and 10 others would all travel through tiny Sampsonia Way to recite their poetry or to enjoy a fellowship. But those are exactly the kinds of synergies that City of Asylum/Pittsburgh achieves through events such as the Jazz Poetry Festival.

These writers came to Pittsburgh thanks to the ongoing partnership between City of Asylum and International Writing Program of the University of Iowa.

In this issue Desiree Cooper tells a vivid story about the relationship between these two strange attractors. Do you also want to know what writers from around the world think about Pittsburgh audiences?  Read here.

Let us know your experiences with the writers of the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. Have you attended Jazz Poetry or been to a reading? Let us know your experience.

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