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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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Lorca the New Yorker

April 12th, 2013

CAS’ Christopher Maurer, chair and professor of Romance Studies, is co-curating a program at the New York Public Library titled “Back Tomorrow: Lorca in New York.” Part of a months-long, citywide celebration of Spanish writer Federico García Lorca’s residence in and exploration of New York in 1929 and 1930, the program will showcase manuscripts, photos, and drawings.

Lorca was a Spanish avant-garde poet, theater director, and dramatist. Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928) was his best known work of poetry. It was inspired by the ballads and poems of the Spanish countryside, but applied much of Lorca’s own style and so took the traditional poetic forms in new directions. He sided with Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War; that is, forces loyal to the established Spanish Republic.

As the New York Times states, “The exhibition takes its title from the grim end of the writer’s life during the Spanish Civil War. García Lorca left a note on his publisher’s desk in 1936 saying he would be ‘back tomorrow,’ but he did not return. Soon after, he was executed by pro-Franco soldiers, at the age of 38.”

Lorca dedicated his book of verse, “Poet in New York,” to the city that so fascinated him during his time there. The book, which explores his feelings of alienation and isolation, was inspired both by Lorca’s existence as a foreigner in a new land and the Wall Street crash, which he witnessed up close. The citywide celebration, “Lorca in NY: A Celebration,” runs April 5 through July 21. In addition to the public library program, the celebration will include, according to the Times, a puppet play, poems by creative writing students, scholarly panels, and a concert by Patti Smith.

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