THE SUDDEN CALAMITY OF LIFE

To a Syrian Prisoner of Conscience
Poetry Reading by Gregory Carlock
With Ink Drawings by Stefan Maneval
@ Aaliya's Books, Gouraud Street
March 24, 7 PM

Gregory Carlock will read his long poem "To a Syrian Prisoner of Conscience." The poem recounts his experiences in and around the "underground" Damascus poetry group, Bayt al-Qasid, in the spring of 2011. Part travel narrative, part elegy, the poem focuses on the author’s friendship with a young Syrian writer—from their boyish delight at translating each other’s work, and travelling the country together, to Carlock’s dismay on learning of his friend’s arrest.

The reading will be accompanied by an exhibition of ink drawings by Stefan Maneval, which were inspired by the poem. Maneval made the drawings during a postdoctoral fellowship at the Orient-Institut Beirut, between October 2017 and March 2018.

Stefan Maneval works as a scholar of the Middle East, photographer, curator, and artist. His publications include articles on contemporary politics, cultural heritage and the art scene in Saudi Arabia, social theory, as well as Muslim Matter (Revolver, Berlin: 2016), a co-edited book on the diversity of Muslim everyday life and material culture. He has been illustrating Carlock’s poetry for five years.

Gregory Carlock (b. 1979, New Jersey, USA) is a poet, critic, and scholar of Arabic literature. During the reign of Bush Two, he left New York to study Arabic in Giza. He is the author (with Daniel Lergon) of the collection Fire Untouched by Smoke (Ivorypress, Madrid: 2015), and of a polemic against the Syrian-Lebanese poet, Adonis. He lives in Berlin with his wife and daughter.


With musical accompaniment by Raad al-Shuhuf (Oud).

Presented in cooperation with Aaliya's Books, Goethe-Institut Lebanon, and UMAM D&R.