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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, December 8

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Events Tue May 11 2010

Performance Poetry Gives Voice to Misunderstood Community

Poetry is like love, hard to define, often badly imitated, but you know the real thing when you find it by how hard it is to forget and how uncomfortable it makes you. That's how I felt hearing about the 1700% Project on NPR the other day. The title refers to the rise in hate crimes against Arabs, Muslims (and those perceived as such) since September 11, 2001. The poem is a Cento, which is 100 lines of found writings, comprised of some of the individual news stories that fill out that percentage. It's an ingenious technique that's all the more arresting for its simplicity and straightforwardness. The brainchild of "artist/writer/agitator" Anida Yoeu Ali, "1700% Project: Otherance" was "conceived as a collaborative project utilizing art not just as a means to address critical issues but also as strategic intervention." Check out the last two performances, which include the poem, video, dance, audio recording and performance-installation, at Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State Street, 7th Floor, (312) 629-6635, Saturday, May 15 at 12:30pm and Friday, May 21 at 4:30pm.

Update, 05/13/2010: Ali's project was vandalized some time between May 6 and May 11.

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Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

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