Chatham literary fest draws international cast

Ten writers from home and abroad will join former poet laureate Robert Hass in discussing their work at Chatham University's "Bridges to Other Worlds: An International Literary Festival."

The festival, Oct. 4-5, is sponsored by the university's graduate writing program.

Hass was poetry consultant to Congress from 1995-97 and winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize for Poetry with his collection "Time and Materials."

He opens the festival with a keynote speech Oct. 4 at 9:30 a.m., then joins participant Naomi Shahib Nye for a reading at 8 p.m.

Nye, a Palestinian-American author of poetry and children's books, is one of three writers representing the literature of the Middle East.

The others are Anahita Firouz, now a resident of Shadyside, who has written "In the Walled Garden," a novel about her native Iran; Laila Al-Atrash, a member of the Ministry of Culture in her native Jordan and the author of five novels, as well as a radio and TV journalist; and Taha Muhammad Ali, a Palestinian poet and fiction writer.

Ali's poetry collection, "So What," was published in 2006 by Copper Canyon Press. One of his American translators, Peter Cole, a published poet as well as a student of ancient Hebrew literature, is on the program along with another translator, Alexis Levitin, who works with Portuguese and Spanish authors.

Other international authors will be Astrid Cabral of the Brazilian Amazon, who has also worked as a diplomat and an environmentalist (Levitin translated her new poetry collection, "Jaula/Cage"), and Claudia Rankine, a Jamaican poet, essayist and editor.

Also participating are Pittsburgh's Samuel Hazo, poet, novelist, translator and founder of the International Poetry Forum, and Derek Green, a journalist and author of "New World Order" from Autumn House Press of Pittsburgh.

A workshop with Hass, Green, Levitin, Rankine and Nye is limited to 15 participants and requires special reservations.

Cost for the entire program of readings and panel discussions is $30. For a schedule and registration form, call 412-661-1809, send an e-mail to Sheryl St. Germain, director of the graduate writing program, at, or visit the university Web site --

Yinzers on parade

Three writers and a musician are on the bill tomorrow night for the New Yinzer reading program at Modern Formations Gallery, 4919 Penn Ave., Garfield, at 8 p.m.

Reading will be Kris Collins, Kevin Finn and Kurt Garrison. Playing guitar, drums and piano will be Carlos Pena. Cost is $4 at the door.

Book editor Bob Hoover can be reached at or 412-263-1634. First Published July 15, 2008 4:00 AM


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