A Year in Review:
In this most difficult year, I managed a few moments of joy in writing. I took some risks in writing in fiction. I incorporated love into my pedagogy. And I made some beautiful friends in these tense and transformative times. May we all be safe and protected in these most frightening times. It has also been a time of great honesty and truth telling. A time to be vigilant of authority and racial injustice and a time to come together to work towards equity. The Black Lives Matter movement was the most heart opening, transformative series of protest movements this year. I saw it impact my family, my students, and my colleagues, my diaspora in such a profound way. May we all continue in that spirit of radical love.
Here are a few highlights:
This panel on Turkic identity in Afghanistan curated by Said Sabir Ibrahimi was one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had. I don’t think I did much to contribute to the conversation other than anecdotes, but I learned a great deal from the most erudite, Moheb Mudessir.
October 12, 2020
I was excited to give a talk on my work at the American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan. It was quite an experience and I enjoyed meeting the students.
The Creative Writing Club: Author Talk with Dr. Zohra Saed
October 6, 2020
I read my poem about my father’s visit to walnut forest in Nangarhar to the great Dr. Vandana Shiva and other amazing seed activists at: Satyagraha: Gardens as Acts of Resistance. Hosted by Brooklyn Rail.
Tinderbox Poetry Journal nominated my poem “Sister of my Spine, Wearing War behind One Ear” for the Best New Poets list. This meant a great deal to me since it was the first time I was able to articulate the death of my cousin in Kabul.
On April 24, I was on a panel with the incredible poet, LaTasha N. Diggs:
Film Screening and Talk: Made in Harlem with LaTasha Nevada Diggs and Zohra Saed
The sumptuous Looking for Langston (Isaac Julien, 1989, 60 min.) streams on Twitter at 4:00PM, with discussion to follow with Zohra Saed, LaTasha Diggs, & Poets House program director Paolo Javier. The post-screening discussion focuses on poetry, collective memory, and the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance in the political and artistic imagination of Harlem poets today.
I got to speak about Langston Hughes’ trip to Soviet Central Asia and the connections he made there.
February 11, 2020
My last event at a space with people in the audience was: Ticket to Afghanistan with the Alignist Book club. The even was with Nadia Hashimi and Elhan Fanous hosted by Beenish Ahmed. Here I met the amazing women who came together to form an Afghan book club. This was a lifesaver during quarantine.