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Writers give voice to world’s political issues

Suheir Hammad

Multicultural Center, SMC 228
April 19
12:30 p.m.

Michael Moore
Pamplin Sports Center
Lewis & Clark College
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Rd.
April 19
7:30 p.m.
FREE to students, $5 general public

This Friday, award-winning poet and spoken word artist Suheir Hammad will give a poetry reading in the Multicultural Center, Smith Center 228, as part of the PSU women’s studies department 2002 Colloquium Series On Race, Gender and Sexuality. The 28-year-old Palestinian-American poet and political activist is the author of a book of poems entitled “Born Palestinian, Born Black,” the memoir “Drops Of This Story” and has been featured in numerous anthologies, periodicals and literary journals.

She has also recently appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry Slam,” performed with the All That Band and Rhythms of Aqua, as well as produced a documentary, “Half A Lifetime.” She is currently writing a film based on her memoirs titled “From Beirut To Brooklyn.” As if that weren’t enough, she has received the Audre Lourde Writing Award from Hunter College, the Morris Center for Healing Poetry Award, and a New York Mills Artist Residency in Minnesota. Whatever time she has left is spent editing the literary journal Butler Phoenix and writing a regular column for Stress magazine, as well as supporting political causes concerning Mumia Abu-Jamal, domestic violence, sexual abuse, racism and homophobia.

Her interest in identity issues of being a woman and a Palestinian is evident in nearly all of her works, such as “Mama Sweet Baklava,” taken from her upcoming book “Pariah”:

Thousand and one flaky layers like
her nights and her center
pistachio walnut crushed
years of rough pounded heart
hear her crunch in
the mouths of men who barely taste blood.

However, her work also celebrates a sense of spirituality and love of life, despite the pain that exists, such as in “Talisman,” where she writes,

may you walk ever
loved and in love
know the sun
for warmth the moon
for direction
may these words always
remind you your breath
is sacred words
bring out the god
in you.

Michael Moore is also a writer active with political issues, albeit in a completely different direction. The popular satirist is the author of several books, including “Downsize This!” He also produced the documentary film “Roger And Me,” which dealt with General Motors’ decision to close their factory in Moore’s hometown of Flint, Mich., and the consequences that resulted from the closure.

Moore is on tour promoting his newest book, “Stupid White Men … and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation,” which is currently on top of the New York Times best-seller list.

Moore draws from his working-class background and experiences to give a satirical look at politics, corporate greed and power in this country and beyond, as his interest also naturally extends out to issues of globalization. Admission is free for PSU students. Tickets are available at the Lewis & Clark College Bookstore. For more information, contact Timilin Sanders-Garrett at 503-768-7139.