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World Poetry Day 2020 (POSTPONED)

March 21 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

UPDATE: In light of recent developments in the number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, we think it wise to postpone this event to sometime in June, the date of which will be announced at a later time. Stay safe, folks.

Join us for an afternoon of translated poetry on World Poetry Day, featuring Kulleh Grasi’s Tell Me Kenyalang (BM and Iban to English), Hafiz Hamzah’s Blooms of Ire (BM to English), and Mwaffaq Al-Hajjar’s Poetic Entropy (Arabic to English). The poets will be on hand to speak about their work and read a few of their poems. Special guest Pauline Fan, translator of Tell Me Kenyalang, will be reading her translations. FREE ADMISSION.

Kulleh Grasi is a poet, singer-songwriter, and cultural activist of Iban descent from Kapit, Sarawak. He is a founding member of avant-garde Borneo band Nading Rhapsody, which draws from the oral traditions of Sarawak. He writes in Malay, Iban, and several other indigenous languages of trans-national Borneo. Grasi’s poems capture the excited intimacy of exploring one’s own beloved country with depth and vision. Grasi leaps between languages, registers and landscapes to create a multi-dimensional book, and Pauline Fan in her translations, leaps with him into a detailed, rich English, while finding innovative ways to provide context to a place so rarely read about in English.

Hafiz Hamzah is a Penang born poet, writer and journalist based in Kuala Lumpur. He has published two collections of poetry, Malakalis (2014) and Gertak Sanggul (2016). He is the founding editor of Obscura Malaysia, an independent publishing house in Kuala Lumpur. Blooms of Ire is an examination of passion as the blood of life – the underlying current behind a heated glance, a passive gesture, a memory from a time long ago. Blooms examines living in its essence and peeks into entire lifetimes, imagined and real. Translated from the original Malay by Ede A. Hamid.

Mwaffaq Al-Hajjar is a Syrian poet, performer and engineer who has been living in KL since 2016. He was the winner of the 2017 Migrant and Refugee Poetry competition. Mwaffaq debuted on the Malaysian stage in a production of Nassim Soleimanpour’s Blank in 2019. Mwaffaq has always wanted to prove that science is the poetry of the universe and this book is an attempt. Poetic Entropy isn’t about the poet but everything around him. The poems celebrate love and despair, home and exile, memories and friendships, and seek to return to the spontaneity of words and language after they have been domesticated by etiquette. Translated from Arabic by Ziad Altaghlibi.

In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognises the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind. One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.


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