2011: A Year of Collaborations & Community Building

Writers are for the most part lone wolfs, notorious for hibernating in order to release the “jinns” inside them via writing. However, this year, I found myself more than ever involved in collaborations that expanded my community of Asian American and Central Asian American authors, performers and intellectuals. Since I was bedazzled by the Hipstamatic App on my iPhone, I fortunately documented these moments of collaborations, both formal and informal (almost always informal with a generous dosage of laughter). I am blessed and honored to be part of this community.

Here is my tribute to a growing community:

The inimitable Cihan Kaan, author of Halal Pork & Other Stories whose book happily almost sold out 9 months after release (UpSet Press: Spring 2011)
Amir Parsa, genius poet, and Robert Booras, editor of UpSet Press drawing up a contract for 2013 and beyond with a cool $20 on the table.
Purvi Shah, director of KAVAD programs, Kundiman. Fearless leader of the Together We Are New York, a Post 9/11 Community Voices and Poetry Series.

These photos are a series of collaborative meetings poets: Hossannah Asuncion, Tamiko Beyer, Marlon Esguerra, April Naoko Heck, Eugenia Leigh, Bushra Rehman, Zohra Saed, Purvi Shah, and R.A. Villanueva had while putting together the Together We Are New York performance in NYC.

April Naoko Heck, poet/beauty/blogger
Tamiko Beyer, poet with the most joyous laughter, Together We Are New York (Kundiman)
Bushra Rehman, comedian meets poet meets novelist, Together We Are New York (Kundiman)
Marlon Esguerra, poet extraordinare, listening and editing the voices for Together We Are New York (Kundiman)
Hossannah Asuncion, poet and human vitamin C, bringing the good cheer at a Together We Are New York meeting.
R.A. Villanueva and Tamiko Beyer in the midst of editing at Together We Are New York meeting (Fast editing creates visual blurs — aka Poets at Work defy still photos).
Eugenia Leigh, pushcart winner for her poetry! Here gathering the yellow candles we decorated the stage with at Fordham University.
My perspective… don
Nisa, the young future scientist interviewed by Tamiko Beyer. Tamiko
Sahar Muradi, poet/actress/co-editor, during a session to organize the first Afghan American artists and writers commemoration of the 10 years of war in Afghanistan.
Wazhmah Osman, Filmmaker/Scholar/Activist, at organization meeting for Afghan Americans Ten Years Later event.
Afghan American Artists and Writers Association (AAAWA) L-R: Sahar Muradi, moi, Naheed Elyasi, and Najila Naderi. The organization is now growing with members and events.
Bushra Aryan, PhD in Education, writes excellent probing work on Afghan American women in higher education.
Shehnaz Khan, community activist and author of
Veil matches iPhone. Madonna meets Hijabi Fashionista.
Shehnaz Khan, truly rocking that veil!
Winter Wonderland with Najila Naderi, Afghan American fiction writer.


  1. Jasjot Anand

    Ms. Saed,

    My name is Jasjot Anand and I teach the middle grades at the Hovnanian School in New Jersey. Each year we celebrate International Day and for the whole marking period students learn about a given country. I chose Afghanistan after reading Three Cups of Tea and the Kite Runner. The students are going to learn about Afghan music, food, major landmarks, and the whole nine yards. I am searching for Afghan cultural groups in the New York area. I’d really appreciate any help.

    1. Sanjeev Shukla

      Ms.Jasjot Anand ,

      Am a world traveler , been to 35 countries ( including USA – Cincinnati , Columbus , Washington , NY & AC ) and now focusing on Afghanistan.

      Would love to do some research work for you during my travel to Afghanistan.

      You may please write to me at your convenience.

      Best regards

      Sanjeev Shukla
      ( New Delhi – India )

      Mobile : +91.97174 22577
      Email : sanjeevshukla9@gmail.com

      1. Zohra

        Mr. Sanjeev,
        This is not where you would reach Jasjot Anand.You’d have to search for Ms. Anand’s contacts. This is just a comment area for my blog.

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