AAWWTV: Solmaz Sharif on Political Poetry and Documents

“An artful lexicographer, Sharif shows us that the diameter of a word is often as devastating as the diameter of a bomb.” – New York Times Book Review

Watch poet Solmaz Sharif break down her approach to poetry and how she extracts humanity from the clinical text of military documents.


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AAWW is a national not-for-profit arts organization devoted to the creating, publishing, developing and disseminating of creative writing by Asian Americans–in other words, we’re the preeminent organization dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told.

We’re building the Asian literary culture of tomorrow through our curatorial platform, which includes our New York events series and our online editorial initiatives. In a time when China and India are on the rise, when immigration is a vital electoral issue, when the detention of Muslim Americans is a matter of common practice, we believe Asian American literature is vital to interpret our post-multicultural but not post-racial age. Our curatorial take is intellectual and alternative, pop cultural and highbrow, warm and artistically innovative, and vested in New York City communities.

Our curatorial platform is premised on the idea of a big-tent Asian American cultural pluralism. We’re interested in both the New York publishing industry and ethnic studies, the South Asian diasporic novel and the Asian American story of assimilation, high culture and pop culture, Lisa Lowe and Amar Chitra Katha, avant-garde poetry and spoken word, journalism and critical race theory, Midnight’s Children and Dictee. We are against both an exclusive literary culture that believes that race does not exist and Asian American narratives that lead to self-stereotyping and limit the menu of our identity. We are for inventing the future of Asian American literary culture. Named one of the top five Asian American groups nationally, covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Poets & Writers, we are a safe community space and an anti-racist counterculture, incubating new ideas and interpretations of what it means to be both an American and a global citizen.

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