All ages are welcome at OPWC. An open mic is a vital part of the evening. Each open mic performer gets up to four minutes to read original works or verse written by others. Our audiences famously encourage open mic readers. The main feature as well as the open mikers perform censorship free; strong language is sometimes used. After the guest reader, a hat is passed to provide the guest a small stipend and to help fund future readings. The collective has been honored with donation of a new book of poetry every month from the University of Arkansas Press — and the raffle is free! Often, featured readers offer their own books and chapbooks (and sometimes CDs and DVDs) for sale, autographed.
The featured author in January will be Mohja Kahf reading from her newly released poetry collection Hagar Poems.
The central matter of this daring new collection is the story of Hagar, Abraham, and Sarah the ancestral feuding family of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
"These poems delve into the Hajar story in Islam. They explore other figures from the Near Eastern heritage, such as Mary and Moses, and touch on figures from early Islam, such as Fatima and Aisha. Throughout, there is artful reconfiguring. Readers will find sequels and prequels to the traditional narratives, along with modernized figures claimed for contemporary conflicts.
Hagar Poems is a compelling shakeup of not only Hagar's story but also of current roles of all kinds of women in all kinds of relationships."
Mohja Kahf was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1967 to parents who immigrated to the United States in 1971. She is the author of a poetry book, E-mails from Scheherazad, and a novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf.