Sinan Antoon at UMaine (7pm talk)

Sinan Antoon gave two talks at the University of Maine on Thursday April 3, 2008

12:30 “The Destruction of the Modern State of Iraq” (audio only HERE)

19:00 “Debris and Diaspora: Iraqi Culture Today” (this post contains 67-minute audio-only version)

I am pleased to make these available at and as a BitTorrent download. DIVX-encoded video of “Debris and Diaspora: Iraqi Culture Today”, packed along with the audio from the noon talk is available in a BitTorrent version. (What’s a torrent? See HERE for information. You must install client software in order to download files shared as torrents.)

This post contains downloadable audio for the 7pm talk only. Downloadable audio for the noon talk is HERE.

The programs both were produced by

These are gripping talks that paint a devastating picture of what has happened to Iraq and its people. The tragedy of Iraq hits home for Sinan. It once was a country with great potential that has been eviscerated by America and its “student,” Saddam Hussein. It is rare in America to see Iraq from an Iraqi point of view. Sinan Antoon helps us do that. Highly recommended.

SINAN ANTOON is an Iraqi-born poet, novelist, and translator. He studied English literature at Baghdad University before moving to the United States after the 1991 Gulf War. He did his graduate studies at Georgetown and Harvard where he earned a doctorate in Arabic literature.

His poems and essays (in Arabic and English) have appeared in various journals and publications around the world, including as-Safir, an-Nahar, al-Adab, and Masharef, as well as The Nation, Middle East Report, al-Ahram Weekly, Banipal and the Journal of Palestine Studies. He has published a collection of poems, (A Prism; Wet with Wars, Cairo 2003). A translation of his poems appeared in English in May 2007 by Harbor Mountain Press entitled “The Baghdad Blues.”

His debut novel I`jam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (published in Arabic in Beirut in 2003) was translated and published in English in May, 2007 by City Lights Books. It was chosen by Kirkus Reviews for its special edition on debut fiction “2007: New and Important Voices.” His poetry was anthologized in Iraqi Poetry Today. He has also contributed numerous translations of Arabic poetry into English. His co-translation of Mahmud Darwish’s poetry was nominated for the PEN Prize for translation in 2004.

Antoon returned to his native Baghdad in 2003 as a member of InCounter Productions to co-direct/produce a documentary About Baghdad about the lives of Iraqis in a post-Saddam occupied Iraq. He is a senior editor with the Arab Studies Journal, a member of Pen America, a contributing editor to Banipal and a member of the editorial committee of Middle East Report. Antoon is currently an Assistant Professor at New York University.

Sinan Antoon spoke in 140 Little Hall on the University of Maine Orono campus Thursday, April 3, 2008. The program was sponsored by the Maine Peace Action Committe with support from Student Government at the University of Maine and the Dean of Students Programming Funding Board.

The brief music excerpt you hear in the background is from a performance by Iraqi musician Amer Tafiq recorded for the film, About Baghdad.