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Professor of Islamic culture to Lecture on Poetry at Juniata

(Posted September 7, 2010)

Sinan Antoon, professor of Islamic studies at NYU.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Sinan Antoon, assistant professor of Islamic culture at New York University and an acclaimed poet and filmmaker, will explain Iraqi poetry and culture through his analysis of the classic poem "Rain Song" at 4 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 16 in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center on the Juniata campus.

The talk is a companion lecture complementing the opening of the art exhibit "Mohammed Al Shammery: Rain Song" by Iraqi artist Mohammed Al Shammerey at the Juniata College Museum of Art from Sept. 16 through Oct. 30.

Antoon, who has published his poetry in Arabic and English throughout the world, will show how "Rain Song," by Badr Shakir al-Sayyib, an experimental poet who introduced free verse into Arabic poetry in the 1940s and 1950s. "Rain Song" was celebrated in literary circles for its groundbreaking use of myth.

In addition to his prolific literary output, Antoon also published the novel "I'jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody" and co-directed the film documentary "About Baghdad," which chronicled the lives of Iraqis after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Antoon earned a bachelor's degree in 1990 from the University of Baghdad and went on to earn a master's degree in 1995 from Georgetown University. He earned a doctoral degree in 2006 from Harvard University.

He has published a collection of poems, "Baghdad Blues," and his work has been collected in the anthologies "Iraqi Poetry Today" and "Inclined to Speak: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry." He also is an award-winning translator for the work of poet Mahmoud Darwish. Antoon's translation of Darwish's "In the Presence of Absence" was published this year

He has appeared on several news programs and talk shows, including various National Public Radio productions, "Al Jazeera English" and public television's "The Charlie Rose Show."

He serves on the advisory board of the "Arab Studies Journal," a member of the editorial committee for the "Middle East Report," and is a contributing editor to "Banipal." He was a postdoctoral fellow at the EUME Program in Berlin, Germany.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.