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Bridging Cultures: Poetic Voices of the Muslim World

The Iranian poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad†Photographer unknown
The Iranian poet and
filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad
Photographer unknown

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) developed the special initiative, Bridging Cultures, which engages the power of the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives with the United States and abroad. NEH Chairman James Leach has noted, “The sharing of language, philosophy, literature, and art – the history of peoples – is the most profound bridge between societies and across cultures.”

Jacksonville Public Library (JPL), in partnership with University of North Florida (UNF) and the Istanbul Cultural Center, presents Bridging Cultures: Poetic Voices of the Muslim World.

Jacksonville is one of six public library systems in the US – and the only one in the Southeast - chosen to host this traveling exhibit and related programming that use scholarly interpretation and performance of oral and literary Muslim poetry tradition to increase understanding of Muslim cultures. The Bridging Cultures initiative encompasses a broad array of themes and programming informed by the best in humanities research and scholarly insight.

Special programs include renowned scholars, international performers and artists, a teen and young adult poetry contest and presentation with poetry scholars, documentary screenings, book discussions and children’s activities. Reservations are required for some events and all programs are free and open to the public. See the Event Schedule for details.

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World is presented by Poets House and City Lore, in partnership with the American Library Association and the Jacksonville Public Library along with the public libraries in Los Angeles, Detroit, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C. and Queens, NYC. Funded by the Bridging Cultures Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. With additional support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

Calligraphy of†Imam al-Busiriís Qasida al-Burda (The Mantle Ode), 15th-century†Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Calligraphy of†Imam al-Busiri's Qasida al-Burda
(The Mantle Ode), 15th-century
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

                 

A painted truck with its owner, Mazhar Ali Khan, Pakistan, 2007 Courtesy of Jamal J. Elias
A painted truck with its owner, Mazhar Ali Khan,
Pakistan, 2007 Courtesy of Jamal J. Elias


The Jacksonville Public Library, in partnership with the University of North Florida and the Istanbul Cultural Center, is proud to offer programs to enhance the Bridging Cultures: Poetic Voices of the Muslim World experience. Special programs include renowned scholars, international performers and artists, a teen and young adult poetry contest and presentation with poetry scholars, documentary screenings, book discussions and children’s activities. Reservations are required for some events – noted below - and all programs are free and open to the public.

May 4, 2013, 1:00 p.m.
Main Library, Fourth Floor Atrium
Book and Documentary Discussion
A discussion of the classic book, "The Arabian Nights" and a screening of the documentary, “The Thousand and One Nights: A Historical Perspective” will be facilitated by a librarian from the Jacksonville Public Library.
May 19, 2013, 3:00 p.m.
Main Library, Hicks Auditorium
Poetic Voices of Jacksonville: Pathways of Faith and Values
Local teen and young adult poets will enter a poetry competition allowing the winners to share and discuss their work with a panel of scholars.
Poetry may appear in any language; however, if in a language other than English, an English translation must also be provided.
May 29, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Adam W. Herbert University Center, Grand Ballroom, UNF
Note: Reservations are required for this program. Click here for reservations.
Song of the Reed: Rumi
Dr. Jawid Mojadeddi with composer and performer Amir Vahab and his ensemble (see images below)
13th century Persian poet Rumiis now one of the most widely read poets in the United States. In this talk, scholar and translator Jawid Mojadeddi discusses the beauty of Rumi’s Masnavi: its folk tales, sacred history, entertaining stories and lessons, all written in rhyming couplets. This talk is followed by a performance of the poems set to music (in English and Persian) by distinguished composer and Persian classical performer Amir Vahab with his ensemble.
June 7, 2013, Noon
Main Library, Room G-4, Conference Center Level
JPL – Lunch & Lit Book Club
Discussion of “Snow” by Orhan Palmuk*
June 16, 2013
Main Library, Fourth Floor Atrium
Poetic Voices of the Muslim World exhibit ends
Amir Vahab Jawid Mojaddedi

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World is presented by Poets House and City Lore, in partnership with the American Library Association and the Jacksonville Public Library along with the public libraries in Los Angeles, Detroit, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C. and Queens, NYC. Funded by the Bridging Cultures Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. With additional support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

American Library Association   National Endowment for the Humanities
Poets House
Poets House Postcard
  City Lore
Thank you to our local partners:
University of North Florida Istanbul Cultural Center