10 Days in Sharjah

My trip to the UAE

Open Mic Session-11.24.2012

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I have been missing in action, yes…back home safely with lots of jetlag and flu and files to still download/upload and share, share, share, with all the wonderful people we met and connected with on the other side of the planet…so, for now I bring you this.

Our last Open Mic Session was great, loud, and super successful! Thank you to all the poets, writers, and artists that participated and a big thank you to Sharjah’s wonderful community of book lovers and passionate listeners!


Written by Terri Carrion

December 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm

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Day 8

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No time for major entry today…off to (more) museums, souq, and hopefully to Dubai to stare at the tallest building in the world.

Great day with Ahmed who gave us a personal tour of the Islamic Civilization Museum.(I am a museum junkie, I can spend all day in a museum).

Then he took us to a great local Lebanese restaurant for dinner   where we had a ridiculous amount of food for a ridiculous $30.

(I highly recommend the falafel arabic, moist and perfectly grilled).

Please check my Facebook album for many photos…still trying to upload, share, etc. to various locations…:)

Also, last night I sat in on an Arabic women poetry reading…I had my own personal translator whispering in my ear. It was bizarre. Very passionate readers…lots of words, lots of “country” and more men in the room than women.

Quite interesting.

I am compiling a collage poem from the poetry fragments whispered in my ear by the lovely
Joyce Mouaead, Official Book Fair Interpreter (Wish I had taken her picture).

Here is a unedited sample so far…

The Poets

Maryam AP Nakbi
Mahra Mohamad Bani Yas
Bardis Fuson Khalifa

Arabs be proud
Protect your country
from those who will do harm

Sing of country

You are like flowers
and live in a unique world

One voice
One voice

An emergency

You don’t take into consideration
I am living in this country
Feeling sorrow

I have an emergency
Urging me
To leave

Paris is like magic

They forget
They forget

They think that the snow
Will give me feelings
I don’t have here

I was in my office and I heard a noise

My father died
My father died

Sadness and determination
Like a crying baby

But also like sunshine

My country
My country

No one will be like him

I ask for the pen to write
Express my feelings
This pen started writing

Times are getting more difficult

I am sick
I am sick

Only God can help me

A mermaid that can fly
Spreads her wings

Poetry is a gift

Written by Terri Carrion

November 23, 2011 at 6:23 am

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Day 6 and 7 (sort of)

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Not much time to do anything the last few days…we had a great visit to Malayalam magazine studios for an interview for a new Indian television station to be launched in the spring. Great studio with original art on the walls and murals and hanging things…by artist the Asher.


















(With artist Asher and journalist Abdul)                          And thank you, Jaihoon!

The next day our lecture on 100 TPC and  a poetry reading at the American University went well, although our poetry reading had to compete with the lecture “The Pope and Islam” which was going on at the same time (Sigh).

Delicious fruit drink with chunks of fruit inside...

But, it’s okay, because Nicholas, our host and fellow poet, said a young woman who was at the reading was “very moved” by us. The reading helped her realize the importance of “liberal arts” education. Apparently she has been struggling with the idea that seems to be popular among students that there is no real worth to including art education in your studies. She said the reading changed her mind, and she now understands why it is important as an element of your education, whether you are an engineering major or a business major. She said it touched her in such a way that she could not disregard it.

So, that is pretty amazing.

The central building

Written by Terri Carrion

November 22, 2011 at 5:22 am

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Come join us at the American University.

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We will be giving a presentation on 100 Thousand Poets for Change at 12:30pm as well. Then stick around for the reading  (see below)  at 4:00pm.

Terri Carrión, Nicholas Karavatos, Michael Rothenberg

Venue: Lecture Hall B

Date: 21st Nov 2011

Timing: 16:00 – 17:00

Cost: Free Entry

The Department of English and the Sharjah International Book Fair present Poetry Reading: Terri Carrión, Nicholas Karavatos, Michael Rothenberg

Terri Carrión was born in New York to a Galician mother and Cuban father. She grew up in Los Angeles where she spent her youth skateboarding and slam-dancing. Terri Carrión earned her MFA at Florida International University in Miami, where she taught Freshman English and Creative Writing. Her poetry, fiction, non-fiction and photography have been published in many print & on-line magazines, including the anthology, Continent of Light (CreateSpace, 2011). Her most recent project is a collaboration with F.R Lavandeira and Loreto Riveiro on a trilingual Galician Anthology (from Galician to Spanish to English). Terri Carrión is assistant editor and art designer for Big Bridge.

Nicholas Karavatos was birthed in Boston and child-hoodwinked in Chicago; he came of age in San Clemente and then lit out to the farthest reaches first of the American northwest, and then the world. Now he’s an assistant professor at The American University of Sharjah and travels widely giving seminars, workshops, poetry readings and intermedia spoken word performances. Since 1984 his poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals. Beat legend David Meltzer writes: “Nicholas Karavatos is a poet of great range and clarity. No Asylum (Amendment Nine, 2009) is an amazing collectanea of smart sharp voiced political poetry in tandem with astute and tender love lyrics. All of it voiced with an impressive singularity.”

Born in Miami Beach, Florida in 1951, Michael Rothenberg has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 30 years. He is a poet, painter, songwriter, and editor of Big Bridge Press and Big Bridge, a webzine of poetry and everything else. He is also co-editor and co-founder of JACK Magazine, a literary publication that relates to, but expands beyond, the Beat Generation. His most recent of many collections of poems is My Youth As A Train (Foothills, 2010). He has also edited the collected works of poet Philip Whalen for Wesleyan University Press, and poets David Meltzer, Edward Dorn, and Joanne Kyger for Penguin Books.

Written by Terri Carrion

November 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

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Day 3- Sharjah Ladies Club

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Amazing experience at the Sharjah Ladies Club, we dipped are feet in the gulf, toured the luxurious spa and grounds, talked to a princess (really), drank a mock mojito, and well, if I told you anymore I would have to kill you. 🙂

Written by Terri Carrion

November 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm

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Exquisite Corpse Surrealist Poetry in the UAE

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Exquiste Corpse from 100 Thousand Poets for Change Open Mic Session- by: Mujeeb Jaihoon, Azimillin Musafirs, Eman Hussein, Michael Rothenberg, Marwa Yehia, Michael Rothenberg, Nidal el Khairy and Terri Carrion (forgive me if I spelled your name wrong).

Exquisite corpse, also known as exquisite cadaver (from the original French term cadavre exquis) or rotating corpse, is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. “The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun”) or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed.

In a variant now known as picture consequences, instead of sentences, portions of a person were drawn.[3]The technique was invented by Surrealists and is similar to an old parlour game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. Surrealism principal founder André Breton reported that it started in fun, but became playful and eventually enriching. Breton said the diversion started about 1925, but Pierre Reverdy wrote that it started much earlier, at least before 1918.[1][2]

Later the game was adapted to drawing and collage, producing a result similar to children’s books in which the pages were cut into thirds, the top third pages showing the head of a person or animal, the middle third the torso, and the bottom third the legs, with children having the ability to “mix and match” by turning pages.- Wikipedia

Written by Terri Carrion

November 19, 2011 at 7:12 am

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Day 2

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Trying to understand why it feels like I’ve been here for a looooong time. Only 2 days really.
Also trying to understand why I can’t seem to find a way to describe (in words) this outrageous experience. Which is kind of odd considering the theme of the Book Fair is “For Love Of The Written Word”. But, then, I was never a very good reporter. I get too lost in the moment to take notes or write down names…so what you are left with here is just little splashes of memory.

(This also explains why I haven’t started a blog until now).

So, I have decided…why strain myself looking for the perfect words when pictures can do most of the work on their own. I will be shifting into more of a photo-blog format for a bit…until, if, I can get my head together better, or find a flow, or well…you know.

We met the group of some of the artists that are here for the   Muktatafaht (a Middle East Comics Anthology)…they are very nice and laid back and I’m glad they are here!

But, I do have to say that the highlight of Day 2 at the Sharjah Book Fair was the 100TPC open mic session in the evening. Totally mind blowing.

Thank you Marwa with the Arabic Book Club for bringing such a beautiful group together to share poetry in Arabic and English.  Of course, I didn’t understand a word, but the passion was there, and the music…

…it was an amazing moment to be a part of.

Then the Indian drummers started pounding at the far end of the hall for the “inauguration” of the Indian Focus of the Book Fair this year.

Loud and wonderful drumming!

Another special moment… the assistant to the wife of his royal highness himself, Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi, invited a group of us “ladies” to the Sharjah Women’s Club, which was started by the wife of the Sultan to create a space for cultural programs (and some space for pampering as well), along the Arabian Sea.

We meet later today for that trip, so what can I say except I will be back.

(BTW…the food is just way too good and though some say “I may never be hungry again” because it is so great…I say I’m sure I will never be hungry again when I am forced to conrront what some consider food back home in the US. Sigh…)

Banana, Strawberry, and Mango Mocktail...yummy!

Written by Terri Carrion

November 18, 2011 at 8:31 am

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