Worlds Through Words, a poetry reading at the Jean Cocteau Cinema
Actively developing understanding between cultures and among individual people of different backgrounds seems like a moral imperative in the current state of world affairs. Because sound, color, image, and emotion — among other creative devices — transcend language barriers, art can serve as an aesthetic bridge that does not rely on conveying literal meaning while promoting an appreciation of vastly different approaches to a medium. For poets, such activism may entail finding ways to communicate an interior world in the context of one’s country of origin, filtering personal experience through a political sensibility, or making a direct call to action. Four activist poets from different cultures, each with stellar internationalpublication and performance credentials, offer a sampler of such diverse work in Worlds Through Words, a reading at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 18, at the Jean Cocteau Cinema (418 Montezuma Ave., 505-466-5528).
James Aronhiótas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk), who has taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Lamy, New Mexico, is joined by Haleh Liza, a singer and writer with Iranian heritage who has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Bonnaroo Festival; Brynn Saito, a Japanese-Korean-American who wrote The Palace of Contemplating Departure (2013) and Power Made Us Swoon (2016); and Nigerian-American poet Uche Nduka, whose collections of poetry include Ijele (2012) and Nine East (2013). Ebony Isis Booth, an Albuquerque-based slam poet and recipient of Westword’s MasterMind Award in Literary Arts, hosts the event; in 2016 Booth founded Burque Noir, a multimedia performance and art showcase of black artists in New Mexico. Admission is free. For information on Worlds Through Words, visit www.jeancocteaucinema.com. — J.L.