The Etel Adnan Poetry Prize was established in 2015 to honor Adnan’s legacy as an award-winning, world-renowned poet, essayist, novelist, and artist. Published by the University of Arkansas Press, the prize recognizes a first or second book of poetry, in English, by a writer of Arab heritage.
As part of MEI's Art and Culture Center programming in support of its current exhibition of Arab-American artists, including Etel Adnan, MEI and The University of Arkansas Press are pleased to host a discussion featuring winners of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize.
The conversation will bring together two Arab-American poets, Danielle Badra, of Syrian-Lebanese heritage and the author of Like We Still Speak (winner of the 2021 Etel Adnan poetry prize) and Zaina Alsous, a daughter of the Palestinian diaspora, and author of A Theory of Birds (winner of the 2019 Etel Adnan poetry prize). Badra and Alsous will read from their poetry collections, discuss their work and inspiration, and explore the role of their dual identity in shaping their poetry.
The conversation will be facilitated by poet Holly Morgan Mason.
To view Etel Adnan's work, visit Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora at the MEI Art Gallery through November 17, 2021. Please make a timed appointment to visit the gallery or view the show online.
Zaina Alsous is a writer and movement worker in South Florida. Her first full-length collection A Theory of Birds won the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize, and was published by the University of Arkansas Press in the fall of 2019.
Danielle Badra is a queer Arab-American poet who was raised in Michigan and currently resides in Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Guesthouse, Mizna, BAHR,Cincinnati Review, Duende, The Greensboro Review, Bad Pony, Rabbit Catastrophe Press, Split This Rock, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Dialogue with the Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2015) is her first chapbook, a collection of contrapuntal poems in dialogue with her deceased sister. Her manuscript, Like We Still Speak, was selected by Fady Joudah and Hayan Charara as the winner of the 2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize.
Holly Mason, moderator
Holly Mason is a Kurdish-American writer and literary curator living in Northern Virginia. She received her MFA in Poetry from George Mason University in 2017, where she now works as the English department Graduate Admissions Coordinator and advisor of the Kurdish Student Organization. Her poems, interviews, and reviews have been published in various journals—some are available on her website: Hollymorganmason.com. She has been a reader and panelist for various organizations, like OutWrite (a celebration of LGBTQ+ literature) as well as RAWIFest and Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.
Etel Adnan, Planete 8, 2019. On view at MEI Art Gallery, courtesy of Etel Adnan and Galerie Lelong & Co., New York and Paris