The International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA), the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center are pleased to announce their June 2023 Literary Lights event, featuring Arthur Kayzakian, author of the 2021 Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series award recipient and finalist for the 2021 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, The Book of Redacted Paintings. Kayzakian will be joined by Kaveh Akbar, author of Pilgrim Bell and Calling a Wolf a Wolf. The event, co-sponsored by the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI), will take place on Zoom on June 17, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 10:00 a.m. Pacific and 9:00 p.m. Armenia time. Registration is required.
In The Book of Redacted Paintings, the narrative arc follows a boy in search of his father’s painting, but it is unclear whether the painting exists or not. The book, a poetry collection, is also populated by a series of paintings. Some are real, incomplete, and/or missing, while most are redacted from reality. The withdrawn paintings concept is the emotional arc of the book, a combination of wishing one could paint the pieces he/she/they envision and the feeling of something torn out of a person due to a traumatic upbringing. A sort of erasure ekphrasis, to foresee artwork that was never painted.
Literary Lights is a monthly reading series, to be resumed in September 2023, featuring new works of literature by Armenian authors. Audience members are invited to read along with the series.
Kayzakian is the recipient of the 2022 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the winner of the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition for My Burning City. He serves as the poetry chair for IALA. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from several publications including Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, Portland Review, Chicago Review, Nat. Brut, The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Witness Magazine and Prairie Schooner.
Akbar is the author of Pilgrim Bell (Graywolf Press, 2021) and Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books, 2017) and editor of The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse (Penguin 2022). Born in Tehran, Iran, he teaches at University of Iowa and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson. He is the poetry editor for The Nation.
Established in 1993, the Radius of Arab American Writers is a national non-profit organization that provides mentoring, community and support for writers and artists with roots in the Arabic speaking world and the broader Southwest Asia and North Africa.