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Words of Praise: the Qasida--Poetic Voices of the Muslim World series



Saturday, May 18, 2013




Mark Taper Auditorium




The fourth and final event of the "Poetic Voices of the Muslim World" series is "Words of Praise:  the Qasida", featuring University of Chicago professor Dr. Michael Sells and musician Zafer Tawil and his ensemble.  The qasida is a long, rhymed ode common to Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu literature.  Arab Bedouins originated the form as an oral poem in praise of the tribe or denigrating its enemies.  Dr. Sells' talk reveals the remarkable richness of language and range of emotions evoked by Arabic Golden Age poets Imru al-Qays and al-Mutanabbi.  He also describes how the form continues to be used today in contexts as varied as televised political commentaries and village weddings. The discussion is followed by a peformance by Palestinian-American composer and musician Zafer Tawil and his ensemble.  Tawil has performed with some of the most celebrated world music artists.  This free series was developed by Poets House and City Lore and is presented in partnership with Los Angeles Public Library, the American Library Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.