locat (st. louis,mo) poetry contest: Gitana Productions
- Local St. Louis Poetry Contest Celebrates Rumi and the Language of the Heart
August 14, 2008
ST. LOUIS, MO – Gitana Productions invites local writers to submit original poems for “The Language of the Heart,” a poetry contest and reading based on the work of the acclaimed 13th century Persian poet Rumi. Prizes of $300, $150 and $50 will be awarded, and select poems will be featured at “The Language of the Heart” poetry reading to be held at the Regional Arts Commission on October 18, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The contest entry fee is $10 for up to two poems, which must be submitted to Gitana Productions, PO Box 300280, St. Louis MO 63130 by October 10, 2008. There is no limit on the number of entries.
The poetry competition was inspired by the Rumi poem entitled “On Language,” which includes the following lines:
“The language of companionship is a unique one.
To reach someone through the heart is other than reaching them through words.
Besides words, allusions and arguments,
The heart knows a hundred thousand ways to speak.”
“St. Louis is a racially and ethnically divided city that can heal itself by engaging other cultures through arts and education,” said Cecilia Nadal, executive director of Gitana Productions. “In a time of seemingly endless conflicts, it’s critical that racial and cultural groups do not remain isolated. The better paradigm is to embrace our neighbors in a spirit of celebra
tion. We believe there is no better way to learn from others than to experience their music, dance and culture.”
“The Language of the Heart” is the first in a series of events called “Faces of Love From Iran and Afghanistan” sponsored by Gitana Productions in 2008/2009. In addition to the poetry contest and reading, Gitana will feature the music and poetry of Persia in “Faces of Love from Iran,” to be held Saturday, October 25 at the Ethical Society in St. Louis. The performance includes flutist Hossein Omoumi & Ensemble, one of the world's most respected masters and innovators of the ney, the traditional reed flute of Iran. Dr. Fatemeh Keschavarz, a professor of Persian language and literature at Washington University in St. Louis, will recite poetry from Rumi along with Omoumi’s performance. Tickets and information are available at www.gitana-inc.org.
Hossein Omoumi has a stage presence that demands reverence, according to the Montreal Gazette, which reviewed his performance in Montreal, Canada last November.
“Omoumi's playing was transparent at times, breathy at others, with an astounding range of dynamics and articulation,” the Gazette reported. “His melodies spanned registers, often using two or more notes at once. He also sang - a haunting, melancholy warble that carried all the pathos of his proud tradition. The effect was transfixing.”
The final event in the series “Faces of Love ” will20be an original play “My Heart Keeps Shaking” at St. Louis University from May 22 to June 9, 2009. The play will dramatize the experience of Afghan refugees and immigrants who have relocated to St. Louis, which currently is home to about 6,000 Iranians and 1,500 Afghans. The people of Afghanistan are related to many of the ethnic groups in neighboring Iran. Most Afghans are farmers, although a significant number followed a nomadic lifestyle before fleeing the country to become refugees in neighboring nations and abroad.
Judges for the poetry competition will include Dr. Keschavarz, who was featured in 2007 on the Peabody-award winning National Public Radio series called “Speaking of Faith: The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi,” hosted by Krista Tippett from American Public Media. Her interview and poetry by Rumi can be heard athttp://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/rumi/poetry.shtml.
The Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, Arts and Education Council of St. Louis have provided funding to support the “Faces of Love From Iran and Afghanistan” events.
Gitana Productions, Inc. is a not-for-profit arts and education organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural awareness and collaboration by bringing international music, dance and drama to the St. Louis community. Gitana events present a rarely seen diversity of international and local artists exhibiting an array of traditional and innovative artistic expressions. For more information, visit www.gitana-inc.org or call
Gitana Productions at (314) 721-6556.
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