The Writer’s Center welcomes poet Majda Gama to celebrate the release of her chapbook, The Call of Paradise, selected by Diane Seuss as the winner of the 2022 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize. Majda is in conversation with Eman Quotah.
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Majda Gama is a Beirut-born, Arab American poet based in the Washington, DC area. She is the author of “The Call of Paradise” selected by Diane Seuss as the winner of the 2022 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize. She has read her poetry and contributed to panels at the PEN/World Voices festival in New York City, the Lit Crawl in San Francisco, and Split This Rock in Washington, DC. Her poetry has appeared nationally, and internationally, in journals such as The Adroit Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cordite, Four Way Review, Green Mountains Review Online, Michigan Quarterly Review, Minola, The Normal School, POETRY Magazine, RHINO, Room, Wildness and the anthology “We Call to the Eye & the Night”, (Persea, 2023), an anthology of love poetry by Arab-Anglophone poets.. Poetry is forthcoming from Ploughshares and Prairie Schooner. Majda is a Pushcart, Best New Poets, Best of the Net nominee, a runner up to the RHINO Founders Prize, a finalist in the Neil Shepard prize, and a finalist in the Hayden’s Ferry Review inaugural Poetry Prize. Her manuscript “In the House of Modern Upbringing for Girls” was a 2020 New Issues Poetry Prize finalist. Prior to the pandemic, Majda served as a poetry editor at Tinderbox Poetry Journal before stepping down in 2020 to co-host and curate the Café Muse Literary Salon. She can be reached at majdagama.com.
Eman Quotah grew up in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, and Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Toast, The Establishment, Book Riot, Literary Hub, Electric Literature and other publications. Bride of the Sea is her first novel. She lives with her family near Washington DC.
About the Book
“The speaker of Majda Gama’s The Call of Paradise is a ‘[b]ride of many cities, daughtered by the East
& mothered by the West,’ with poems placed in Beirut and punk L.A., Bab Makkah, the Al-Ain
Oasis, and ‘in the red, backhoed dirt of Virginia,’ the Red Sea and ‘the summer / Shoreline in
America,’ visible and invisible, her hair both black and neon pink, occupying the edge but ‘unable
to submerge.’ Even the poems’ forms, at times, feature parenthetical weavings, and ghazal-like shifts
and dualities. The result of this fluid positionality is nuanced, hushed witness, oud-scented ritual, and
deep artfulness. The speaker may not arrive in paradise, but at the termination of this beautiful
sequence of poems, she hears its call.” –Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
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