Poetry Reading Highlights Work of AUB Authors
|Professor Jayson Iwen
The Blue Note Café opened its doors early on the night of March
17 to play host to an eclectic recital of poetry and prose. The program
began with a poem by avant-garde recording artist Ani DiFranco, who accompanied
herself on drums. Then Henry Matthews from the Information and Public
Relations Office read from his self-illustrated book of poetry, Diary
of Love and Lust, followed by English Department graduate student Jehan
Bseiso, who read a one-page short story along with three of her poems.
The event was the most recent in a series of "open mike" poetry
readings, when anyone is welcome to take the stage. Begun by Professor
Jayson Iwen and sponsored by the AUB English Department, the first of
these readings was held in spring 2005.
The emcee for the evening, English Assistant Professor Mark Bayer, pointed
out that reading in front of an audience can give confidence to those
who might lack it, especially students. But there are other values to
the poetry readings. As Senior Lecturer Christopher Nassar, another one
of the readers, said, "They are important because they encourage
creative writing and show people that others are interested."
The program was highlighted by selections from two newly published works
by AUB authors. One was Jayson Iwen's Six Trips in Two Directions. The
theme of the book is traveling back and forth between Lebanon and Wisconsin,
begun when Iwen first moved to Beirut several years ago. The duality of
moving between two locations is mirrored in the two styles of poetry Iwen
Later in the evening, the audience was treated to amusing selections from
The Importance of Being Earnest Revisited, read by the author, Christopher
Nassar, who rewrote the famous Oscar Wilde play of the same name. Nassar
transformed the Wilde theatrical comedy into a novel. According to Nassar,
"Ninety-five percent of it is Wilde, and five percent of it is me."
Both books will be available soon in Lebanon through Levant Distributors.
One of the hallmarks of these events is the eclectic nature of the program.
But you can decide for yourself, and perhaps share your own work at the
next "open mike" poetry reading, which is scheduled for May
26 at the Blue Note.