The Thought Project - Episode 51 - Interview with Ammiel Alcalay

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photo of alcalayThis week’s guest, Ammiel Alcalay, is a poet, translator, critic, scholar, and activist who teaches at Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. Along with Anne Waldman and others, he was one of the initiators of the Poetry Is News Coalition, and he organized, with Mike Kelleher, the OlsonNow project. Most recently, through The Graduate Center’s Ph.D. Program in English and the Center for the Humanities, he launched Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, a series of student- and guest-edited chapbooks of archival texts emerging from the New American Poetry, one of the premier initiatives in graduate-level primary research about poets and poetry, situated in an American university. 

Alcalay’s books and publications include Scrapmetal (Factory School, 2006); from the warring factions (Beyond Baroque, 2002), a book-length poem dedicated to the Bosnian town of Srebrenica; Memories of Our Future: Selected Essays, 1982-1999 (City Lights, 1999); After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 1993); and The Cairo Noteboooks (Singing Horse Press, 1993). His translations include Sarajevo Blues (City Lights, 1998) and Nine Alexandrias (City Lights 2003) by the Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic; Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing (City Lights, 1996); and a co-translation (with Oz Shelach), of Outcast by Shimon Ballas (City Lights, 2007). Alcalay spearheaded the writing of Za Sarajevo (For Sarajevo), the first English writing about first-person accounts of Sarajevo during the siege, which included an essay by journalist Zlatko Dizdarevic and an interview with filmmaker Ademir Kenovic. 

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Access the transcript.

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Submitted on: APR 17, 2019

Category: The Thought Project