Fun Facts Friday: Ovid
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / March 20, 2020

Ovid went to leave at the edge of the Roman Empire, by the Black Sea in Tomis (now Constanţa, Romania). As inventive as ever he learned the Getic language and wrote a poem to prize Augustus in that language.
That poem has not survived time, it probably would have been the only record of the Getic language.

Fun Facts Friday: Khalil Gibran
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / January 6, 2012

On this day in 1883 Lebanese author, poet and artist Khalil Gibran(January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) was born.  Growing up in the United States, Gibran has written in English. Works by Khalil Gibran 1 ) Gibran was born to a Catholic family in the town of Bsharri which is in Northern Lebanon. 2 ) After Gibran’s father went to jail for embezzlement, Kamila Gibran decided to go to her brother in the United States. She left with Khalil, two younger sisters and older half brother to Boston’s South End in 1985 even though Mr. Gibran was released in 1894. 3 ) Due to a clerical error at his school, Gibran’s first name, Gubran, was dropped and hence forth he was known through his middle name, Khalil. 4 ) In 1898 a publisher used some of Gibran’s covers for a book. 5 ) At age 15 Gibran returned to Beirut, Lebanon to study in a prepatory school. There he started a literary magazine and was elected “college poet”. 6 ) Day’s studio in Boston held Gibran’s first art exhibition in 1904. 7 ) Gibran’s poetry is noted for is formal language and insightful thoughts. 8 ) Gibran’s book The Prophet…

Fun Facts Friday: Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / October 7, 2011

Today, October 7 in the year 1955 poet Allen Ginsberg read his seminal poem “Howl” at Six Gallery in San Francisco. 1) The poem was published in Ginsberg’s 1956 book “Howl and Other Poems” 2) “Howl” is considered one of the great works of the Beat Generation (along with Kerouac’s “On the Road”). 3) Supposedly, Ginsberg wrote the poem in a coffeehouse known today as the Caffe Mediterraneum in Berkeley, California. 4) The poem was written as a performance piece. 5) Publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books was arrested and charged for distributing obscene literature. 6)  The poem celebrates “angel-headed hipsters” and criticizes capitalism and conformity. 7 ) “Howl” is dedicated to his friend Carl Solomon whom he met in a mental institution. 8 ) Many considered the reading of “Howl” as the beginning of a new movement. 9 ) After Part I of “Howl” was published, Ginsberg wrote Part II, Part III and a footnote to boot. 10) Michael McClure wrote: “Ginsberg read on to the end of the poem, which left us standing in wonder, or cheering and wondering, but knowing at the deepest level that a barrier had been broken, that a human voice and body…

Beirut 39: New Writing from the Arab World Edited by Samuel Shimon
Fiction / July 25, 2010

Beirut 39 edited by Samuel Shimon is a collection of stories and poems.  The collection is the product of a literary competition in the Arab world, young authors and poets, all under 40 years of age, competed in a contest sponsored by, among others, Banipal magazine in the Hay festival. The best 39 short stories, poems and novel parts were published. Buy Beirut 39 from*  The stories and poems touch on many varied subjects, politics, sexuality and culture. The selections are as individual as the authors and tell such tales as the wife of a Damascus man who is measuring, for good or bad, her various lovers; or the man who hides his gay identity from his mother while watching a movie about the subject on satellite, hoping she wouldn’t wake up. There were two standout stories I thought, in this book which were a cut above the rest: “The Twentieth [9/11] Terrorist” by Abdullah Thabit and the straight-to-the-point “Coexistence” by Ala Hlehel. Both stories were told from a very believable and vivid point of view which I found refreshing as well as enlightening on an intellectual level. “The Twentieth [9/11] Terrorist” tells of the harsh system of education…

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