Caffe Lena Poetry Night Featuring Hajar Houssaini
On Wednesday, February 1, 2023, Caffè Lena will present a poetry reading by Hajar Houssaini. An open mic poetry reading will follow. Doors open for sign-ups at 6:30 pm and the readings will start at 7:00. The host for the event will be Carol Graser, and the cost is $5 general, free for students. The featured reading will also be live streamed. You can find a link for the live stream at caffelena.org. Caffè Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022.
Hajar Hussaini is a poet, essayist, and translator from Kabul living in Saratoga Springs where she is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Skidmore College. Her debut poetry collection, Disbound (University of Iowa Press, 2022), grapples with the English language as it conforms to the pressures of abandonment. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her work has appeared in various journals including Poetry Magazine, Poetry Foundation, AAWW—Margins, and Pamenar Press. She is currently working on the English translation of the Afghan novel, Death and Its Brother (2017) by Khosraw Mani. https://www.poetryfoundation.
Hajar Hussaini’s poems in Disbound scrutinize the social, political, and historical traces inherited from one’s language. The traces she finds—the flow of international commodities implied in a plosive consonant, an image of the world’s nations convening to reject the full stop—retrieve a personal history between countries (Afghanistan and the United States) and languages (Persian and English) that has been constantly disrupted and distorted by war, governments, and media. Hussaini sees the subjectivity emerging out of these traces as mirroring the governments to whom she has been subject, blurring the line between her identity and her legal identification. The poems of Disbound seek beauty and understanding in sadness and confusion, and find the chance for love in displacement, even as the space for reconciliation in politics and thought seems to get narrower.