Mahmoud Darwish Chair/Whitman Catalogue – Poetry News Roundup June 1st

We begin another week on My Poetic Side with a look at the first Mahmoud Darwish Chair and the Whitman Catalogue that has been honoured with an AIGA Award.

First Mahmoud Darwish Chair of Palestinian Studies Appointed

One of the top universities in America, Brown University, has announced that Professor Beshara Doumani has been appointed to the “milestone” position as the first Mahmoud Darwish Chair of Palestinian Studies,

Brown University is the first university in North America to make such an appointment.

The announcement that the university was planning to establish a chair in Palestinian studies after the late poet Mahmoud Darwish was made at the end of last week. The announcement stated that the chair was the first like it to be established at a research university.

Darwish who was considered to be a towering figure in the world of Arab and Palestine literature passed away in 2008. He is regarded by many as the national poet of the Palestinians, he was a symbol of the struggle that his people faced against the Israeli occupation and displacement. He wrote over 30 volumes of poetry and 8 prose books during his career.

Professor Beshara Doumani who will be the first holder of the position will begin his tenure in July. The professor is well known in the field of Middle East studies. The university is delighted to be welcoming such an important figure to the faculty. Over the last couple of decades, Palestinian studies have been faced with significant pressures that other field simply haven’t faced. It is hoped that the appointment will bring “long-overdue institutional recognition” which will counteract such battles as the 2012 claim by Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House who referred to the Palestinians as “invented people.”

The Trump administration in 2018 closed the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and have been suggesting that they widely accept the Israeli annexation of areas of the Jordan Valley and the West Bank that are occupied by the Palestinians.

AIGA Award Won by Whitman Catalogue

The Center for Book Arts and Curator Deidre Lawrence has received some good news. The catalogue that was produced to accompany the fall 2019 exhibition at CBA titled “Walt Whitman’s Words: Inspiring Artists Today” has won an award. AS part of the “50 Books / 50 Covers of 2019” competition the catalogue has been honoured by AIGA.

The winners were announced earlier this year by AIGA, who is the professional association for design. The catalogue that was created for the Whitman exhibition was a collaboration. The Whitman exhibition asked dozens of modern artists to create a piece of work that was based around a theme in the poet’s work that was recurring.

Each of the winning books from this years AIGA Award will become part of a permanent collection in the Design archives at AIGA. The archives are held in Butler Library at Columbia University.

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